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Saints DB Tyrann Mathieu on RB Bijan Robinson: 'I didn't think the Falcons really used him as good as they should have'

Even an archrival can see the potential in Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson.

And it's potential that New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu believes remains untapped after one season.

"He's going to be special," Mathieu said of Robinson on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast. "Marshall Faulk, you know. Edgerrin James, you know what I mean? Like, LaDainian Tomlinson, you know? And I didn't think the Falcons really used him as good as they should have last year, but, man, he's going to be good."

Mathieu heaped the highest of praise onto Robinson as he compared him to a trio of Hall of Fame running backs known for their versatility.

Mathieu also didn't miss a chance to take a subtle jab at the rival Falcons, who used the eighth-overall selection of the 2023 NFL Draft to take Robinson.

Atlanta and then-head coach Arthur Smith dealt with some criticism over Robinson's usage in 2023, as the Texas product often split carries and opportunities with fellow RB Tyler Allgeier.

Robinson finished his rookie season with 214 carries to Allgeier's 186. Robinson averaged 4.6 yards per career to Allgeier's 3.7, but averaged just 12.6 attempts to his teammate's 10.9. In all, Robinson had 1,463 scrimmage yards. It was a solid start, but not up to the level the burgeoning back sees for himself.

Perhaps more opportunities would've boded well, as Robinson had just 20 or more carries once and had only 20 or more touches in three games -- statistics that support Mathieu's stance. With a new head coach in Raheem Morris and a new offensive coordinator in Zac Robinson, Atlanta's approach with Robinson moving forward remains an intriguing offseason storyline.

Facing Mathieu and the Saints, Robinson spurred the Falcons to a Week 12 win with 91 yards rushing and two total touchdowns. However, in a Week 18 defeat, Robinson was held to 28 yards on 11 carries (though he did have a TD catch and 103 yards receiving).

Saints-Falcons remains one of the NFL's most contentious rivalries, as the aforementioned season finale can attest to. Rival or not, the 31-year-old Mathieu is an admirer of the 22-year-old Robinson who believes bigger seasons lie ahead.

Said the Honey Badger of Robinson: "He's going to be really good."

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