All eyes have been on Odell Beckham Jr., but there was another star playmaker who was in the Dallas Cowboys’ building in recent days. According to Fort Worth Star-Telgram’s Clarence Hill Jr., Texas star running back Bijan Robinson attended the Cowboys-Colts game on December 4, 2022 where he connected with Ezekiel Elliott. Robinson was also spotted at The Star the following day with many awaiting his decision on the NFL draft.
“Texas running back Bijan Robinson, a prospective first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, was at the Cowboys-Colts game ‘visiting,'” Hill tweeted on December 5. “He may or may not have hung out little with running back Ezekiel Elliott and his peeps.”
Robinson is projected by many analysts to be the first running back selected in the upcoming draft. While it is not an official pre-draft visit, the news is interesting given the uncertain futures of both Elliott and Tony Pollard.
“Bijan Robinson is at the Cowboys headquarters today. His visit to Dallas continues,” Hill said in a series of December 5 tweets. “He has made no announcement but look for Robinson to make the smart decision to skip the Alamo Bowl. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose. He has completed his assignment at Texas. Bijan Robinson was visiting with Ezekiel Elliott today at the Cowboys headquarters.
“Big news may be coming. Stay tuned. …I saw Robinson and Elliott in the parking lot outside the Star on the corporate business side of the complex. For point of clarification, Elliott and Robinson were never on team or players side of the Star complex.”
The Cowboys Could Move on From Elliott After This Season
Heading into Week 14, the Cowboys hold the No. 27 selection in the 2023 NFL draft. It would not be a surprise if Dallas looks to take a running back as early as the first round. Elliott’s $90 million contract runs through the 2026 season, but the team has an out that would allow the Cowboys to release the star running back after this season.
Dallas takes an $11.8 million cap hit, per Spotrac, by cutting Elliott but would not be responsible for the remaining four years of his deal which escalates up to a $16.6 million salary in 2026. Pollard will be a free agent in 2023 and is expected to command attention from other teams. The Cowboys backfield could look remarkably different next season which could make running back a position of need in the draft this spring.
Could Robinson Be a Cowboys Draft Target?
Robinson is ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller’s No. 4 ranked overall prospect who compares the Longhorns star to Saquon Barkley. The challenge is Robinson may not be available when the Cowboys are on the clock. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projected Robinson to go No. 21 to the Ravens in his latest mock draft.
“Robinson is the total package as a running back prospect,” Miller wrote on December 6. “He plays with amazing patience but can also lower his shoulder with a 220-pound frame and create space for himself. Robinson’s contact balance and vision in traffic are some of the best I’ve seen.
“He has rushed for 1,580 rushing yards and 18 TDs this season, and he’s also a very good receiving threat out of the backfield (314 receiving yards). There are few players more talented than Robinson in this year’s class.”
The Cowboys Appear to Have Cooled on OBJ
After weeks of publicly gushing over Beckham, the Cowboys have cooled on their pursuit of the star receiver. The sticking point appears to be Beckham’s health with serious question marks over how much the wideout will be able to contribute this season as the former Pro Bowler continues to recover from an ACL injury.
“What needs to happen for a deal to come together for the Cowboys and Odell Beckham, Jr.?” Dallas WFAA’s Mike Leslie tweeted on December 6. “A Cowboys front office source laid it out plainly: ‘For him to get healthy. He is not ready right now.'”