Falcons RB Bijan Robinson signs contract, debuts No. 7 jersey at minicamp

Bijon Robinson has a new number with a big history in Atlanta, a newly signed contract and high expectations that no rookie Falcon has faced in recent years.

The Falcons announced on Friday, the opening day of the team’s three-day rookie mini-camp, that Robinson signed a four-year, $21.96 million contract with an option for a fifth year. Robinson debuted his new No. 7 jersey – the number worn by former Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick – in camp.

Robinson struck a deal with placekicker Younggho Koo, who moved from No. 1. Not since 7. 6.

While no Falcons numbers have been retrieved, Robinson said that the coaches had received approval from Vick to allow the rookie to wear the number. 7.

Robinson admitted that he thought twice about taking the number worn by Vick in Atlanta after being No. 1 for six years. 1st pick overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. Vick was named to three Pro Bowl teams, becoming the first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards before serving 21 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to his role in a dogfighting ring.

Robinson said, “The coaches asked Vick if I could wear it, and he was very excited about it.” “I think it’s great to continue doing such a great song. When I thought about the song I thought, ah, I don’t know if I should do it or not. There have been some good players who’ve worn it. But it means a lot to the program, and I’m going to ride it out and do it the right way.

Robinson said that Koo was “super cool” about leaving No. 7.

The Falcons’ selection of Robinson at No. 8 in the NFL Draft last month was widely regarded as a confirmation of the team’s run-first philosophy under third-year coach Arthur Smith.

Robinson quickly notes that he expects to be more of a runner on the Falcons’ offense. He had 60 catches for 805 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 3,410 yards and 33 touchdowns in his Texas college career.

Robinson was the first running back to be selected out of the first 10 picks in the draft since Saquon Barkley was the New York Giants’ second pick in 2018. It makes for the inevitable comparisons between Robinson and Barkley.

Robinson’s penchant for run-first offense puts Robinson in a position to flourish as a rookie.

“Of course I have hopes,” he said. “For me it is another chance to be the best player. … I’m really more excited to show what I can do as a good partner then to leave everything else.

Smith says there’s room on offense for Robinson and sophomore player Tyler Allgaier, who rushed for 1,035 yards as a rookie and finished the 2022 season as the No. 1 running back. 1 is running back.

Smith says that Robinson’s explosive ability to make big plays makes him a “home-run hitter” on offense. Smith said that Allgeier is “a sledgehammer who takes his melee blows as the game progresses and wears you down.”

Robinson’s skills could be compared to Cordarrelle Patterson, a former wide receiver with Minnesota and Chicago, when he joins the Falcons in 2021. Patterson continued to play wideout with the Falcons in several formations entering his final year. His contract expires in 2023.

Robinson’s history as a slot machine player in Texas prepares him for a versatile role in Atlanta.

“How does he fit in with Bijn, there are a lot of players who are just as versatile,” Smith said on Friday. “We think we can give some people some unique matchups and push the boundaries, and we’re excited about all the rookies in this.”

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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