Tyler Allgeier made the most of his first season with the Atlanta Falcons, as the 2022 fifth-round draft selection ended his NFL rookie campaign with 1,035 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

That rushing total broke the franchise record for rookie rushing yards, as Allgeier led a Falcons rushing game that ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards per game (159.8) and fourth in yards per carry (4.9).

On the surface, then, it seemed curious when the Falcons used the No. 8 overall selection of the 2023 NFL draft on Thursday night on the top running back prospect Bijan Robinson of Texas.

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That means Allgeier, the former BYU running back, will be sharing the Falcons backfield, and carries, with a new, dynamic rushing threat as he heads into his second season, following a breakout rookie year.

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay pegged the Falcons’ selection of Robinson as the best pick of the draft’s first round.

“I just love the fit, positional value aside. He is my No. 2 prospect in this class and brings a whole new element to the Falcons’ offense with his power, pass-game traits and contact balance,” McShay wrote. 

“He’s one of the best running backs I’ve evaluated in the past decade, and with Atlanta’s run-heavy scheme, he could really dominate right out of the gate. General manager Terry Fontenot is setting quarterback Desmond Ridder up well here.”

Texas running back Bijan Robinson, left, poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being chosen by the Atlanta Falcons with the eighth overall pick during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 27, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. | Jeff Roberson, Associated Press

How will the selection impact Allgeier and the other Falcons ball carriers? 

Including Allgeier, Atlanta had three running backs finish with more than 350 yards rushing last season — Cordarrelle Patterson added 695 yards and eight rushing touchdowns, while Caleb Huntley had 366 yards and one rushing score.

All three are on the Falcons’ roster again this season, with the 21-year-old Robinson joining the relatively young group — Allgeier is 23 and Huntley is 24, while Patterson is the veteran of the position at age 32.

Falcons coach Arthur Smith told media members Thursday night that while both Allgeier and Robinson are known for their abilities to get yards after contact, how they do that is “completely different” and that it will be important for the team to find balance in utilizing its weapons.

“Tyler is like … somebody that’s got a sledgehammer that’s bludgeoning through the line of scrimmage as the game goes on and wears you down.” — Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith, on Tyler Allgeier

Because of that, he explained, the addition of Robinson will give the Falcons run-heavy offense more ways to be creative and allow for the team’s skill players, including Allgeier, to earn touches and, hopefully, create a more explosive and unpredictable offense.

“Tyler is a very important part of this offense. They’re different players,” Smith said during the team’s post-first round press conference. “You can look at a lot of advanced metrics and on the surface, both of them are yards after contact players. But how they do that, they’re completely different.

“Tyler is like … somebody that’s got a sledgehammer that’s bludgeoning through the line of scrimmage as the game goes on and wears you down. Where Bijan, his contact balance, the way he doesn’t go down and the way he’s able to get explosives off that, they’re just different the way that people will have to tackle them.”

Robinson, the 2022 Doak Walker Award winner, ran for 3,410 yards and 33 touchdowns in three seasons at Texas, including a 2022 season where he rushed for career-highs with 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns. Robinson averaged 6.3 yards per carry in his Texas career.

He also proved to be a weapon in the pass game, catching 60 passes for 805 yards and eight touchdowns at Texas.

“He’s an explosive weapon. He’s a home run hitter, however he gets the football in his hands,” Smith said of Robinson.

Allgeier, who accounted for 2,899 rushing yards and 3,363 yards from scrimmage in four years at BYU, also played a role in the Falcons’ passing game last season. He caught 16 passes, tied for fifth-most on the team, for 139 yards and a touchdown.

During his introductory press conference Friday, Robinson expressed excitement in being able to work with Allgeier.

“That dude’s a beast. I really enjoyed watching him run the ball last year. Hopefully I can just be a great teammate and learn as much as I can from him,” Robinson said.

Falcons team writer Tori McElhaney, in analyzing the Robinson pick, reinforced the thinking from Smith, that there’s room for Robinson and Allgeier to create a 1-2 punch in the Atlanta offense.  

“Bijan Robinson can be the lightning to Tyler Allgeier’s thunder. Where Allgeier led the FBS in missed tackles in the 2021-22 season because he ran through defenders, Robinson led the FBS in missed tackles this year because he made people miss,” McElhaney wrote. 

“Both methods are valuable in an offense that Arthur Smith has crafted to run the ball well, efficiently and consistently. The Falcons had a top-three rushing offense last year and bringing back almost the entirety of the 2022 offensive line only helps that run-game efficiency continue in 2023.” 

Allgeier and Robinson are just two pieces of a group of young skill position players the Falcons have assembled on offense, along with quarterback Desmond Ridder, wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts.

“It’s a young offense with so much great talent,” Robinson told the team website. “We’re going to try to build something special. Hopefully we can stay together and play together for a long time.”