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The New York Giants might need a new running back, and Alabama’s Brian Robinson might be the perfect man for the job.

If Saquon Barkley’s last two seasons are any sign of what the future holds, then it’s clear that Big Blue cannot rely on the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year moving forward. Luckily for Robinson, his ties with new Giants head coach Brian Daboll could prove invaluable in ensuring he suits up for the four-time Super Bowl champions this fall.

Brian Robinson’s history with Brian Daboll could net him a spot with the New York Giants

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (L) and head coach Brian Daboll (middle), and Alabama running back Brian Robinson.
Could Alabama running back Brian Robinson (R) replace Saquon Barkley (L) and rejoin Brian Daboll on the New York Giants? | Michael Reaves/Getty Images; Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Before going any further, let’s rewind the clock to the fall of 2017. Barkley was in his final year at Penn State and en route to earning consensus All-American honors. Meanwhile, Robinson was a true freshman running back at Alabama and rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

Robinson’s offensive coordinator that year? A veteran offensive mind and longtime NFL assistant coach named Brian Daboll.

Five years later, Daboll is Barkley’s head coach on the Giants, and he’ll have a substantial say in who the team selects in the 2022 NFL Draft. Could the first-year head coach and Robinson reunite in New Jersey?

The idea doesn’t sound so far-fetched, especially not after the Giants brought Robinson in for a visit on Tuesday, April 5. He joined Georgia’s James Cook and Iowa State’s Breece Hall among the running back prospects who met with the five-time NFC champions.

Although Robinson didn’t take the starting reins until last season, he totaled 2,704 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on an even five yards per carry in five seasons with the Crimson Tide. He exploded for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and helped Alabama reach the National Championship Game.

Robinson could spend his rookie year as a change-of-pace running back before replacing Saquon Barkley in 2023

Unless something unexpected happens in the coming months, it appears Barkley will spend next season, the final of his rookie contract, with the Giants. Even with the new regime in place, one should realistically expect the rising fifth-year running back to serve as either the lead back or the 1A in a two-back system.

Although the Giants have two first-round picks, they’d be, shall we say, less than wise to use either of those selections on a running back. Instead, the team should prioritize adding Barkley’s possible replacement on the draft’s second or third day.

Robinson already has extensive experience as a change-of-pace running back, and he excelled in that role at Alabama. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound rusher totaled 924 yards and 11 touchdowns on 4.94 yards per attempt from 2019-20.


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NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein compared Robinson to Seattle Seahawks rusher Chris Carson and praised the Alabama product’s elusiveness, feet, and size.

“He’s more fight than flight, but delays in processing and a lack of second-level creativity turn him into more of a road-grader than he needs to be. He is a linear runner who is likely to be utilized as a complementary bulldozer to help wear down defenses, but Robinson might have more potential from sideline to sideline than he receives credit for.”

Lance Zierlein

Robinson is currently expected to be selected in or around the third round. If all goes to plan, the Giants could allow Barkley and Robinson to split carries next season before potentially moving forward with the latter as the starter — or even the 1A in a new two-back set.

So much of the NFL is already based on who one knows. Would it truly be surprising to see Daboll and Robinson reunite on the Giants after winning a title together at Alabama?

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