Running for a Cause, Bijan Robinson Looks the Part, More

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Combine Miscellany: Running for a Cause, Bijan Robinson Looks the Part, More


The NFL Combine is ovah! The offensive lineman and running backs wrapped up the week’s activities today at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. One of my favorite parts of the combine every year is seeing NFL Network’s Rich Eisen run the 40-yard dash.

  • But it’s not just because I find seeing Eisen run in a full suit hilarious. It’s not even because of the hilarious simulcast videos of the participants smoking him despite Eisen having head starts. It’s why Eisen runs the 40.
  • Eisen runs the 40 to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s hospital. Eisen’s yearly dash has raised north of $150,000 for the children’s hospital as of this publishing. In the seven years Eisen and the NFL Network have done this event, $4.2 million has been raised for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
  • Kudos to Eisen for being a good sport for a good cause. If you would like to donate to St. Jude’s and Eisen’s ‘Run Rich Run’ fundraiser, you can do so here.
  • Let’s talk about real runners at the combine now. Texas’ Bijan Robinson is the consensus top running back in the NFL Draft this year. He’s in many top-fives and is probably the most well-regarded running back draft prospect since Saquon Barkley.
  • Robinson had an excellent day at the combine today, cementing his status as the draft’s top running back prospect.
  • While Robinson may be a top-five prospect, we haven’t seen a running back taken in the top five since 2018. The Giants took Barkley with the second pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Briefly glossing over running backs taken in the top five in recent years, we have Barkley (at No. 2) in 2018, Leonard Fournette (at No. 4) in 2017, and Ezekiel Elliot (at No. 4) in 2016. Christian McCaffrey was taken at No. 8 in 2017, and Todd Gurley at No. 10 in 2015. Beyond that, we have to go back to 2012 to find a running back taken in the top five when the Browns took Trent Richardson at No. 3.
  • Aside from McCaffrey and Elliot (briefly), there hasn’t been much of a track record of success in the second contract. Hence the belief that Robinson won’t be drafted appropriately for where he is stacked among the elite prospects in this draft.
  • Unfair? Robinson didn’t think so when asked if it was unfair that he would slide due to his position: “I don’t want to say it’s unfair. You just never know on that day where you’re going to go. For me, it’s important to keep enjoying the moment. We might get to draft day and some surprise could happen. You just never know.”
  • He’s right. You never know. But for now, I wouldn’t expect to see a team buck the recent trend, especially not in a draft with an intriguing QB class at the top and some blue-chip defensive prospects.
  • Regarding the offensive lineman, BYU’s Blake Freeland joined Anthony Richardson in the record books this weekend. Freeland’s 37″ vertical is the best by an offensive lineman in combine history.
  • Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski had a solid day in Indianapolis. Skoronski recorded a 34.5″ vertical and a 9’7″ broad jump. NGS gave the 313-pounder an impressive 83 athleticism score.
  • Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones ran a 4.97 40-yard dash, the fastest by any offensive lineman this year. Jones earned an 85 athleticism rating, per Next Gen Stats.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.