Atlanta — Mole Robinson Only got a chance to play one series on Friday night, touching the ball four times in his first NFL preseason action, but as the secret previews progressed, the Falcons rookie couldn’t contain his excitement.

“I was definitely a little nervous,” the 21-year-old said at his locker after a 13-13 tie with the Bengals. “Just the first one. My teammates were saying ‘just go out there and finish the first play,’ and as soon as the first play was over, I was ready. It all went away. I was definitely a little bit into it going into There was panic, but it was natural, just as a human being.”

That first carry came on the third play of the game, a 12-yard run down the right side in which he cut left and right to cause opponents to miss. He had three more carries for a total of 20 yards, and the 15-play drive ended with no points. Desmond Ridder’s The third-down pass at the goal line was deflected and intercepted by the Bengals.

It was off to an offensive start, but it gave Robinson his first taste of his home stadium and its fans, which impressed him even though he was short-handed for the preseason games.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “That was a lot of people. It was great to see, and how strong they were. I liked their energy the whole time. I know they’re super-supportive, so to play in front of them, I’m really excited.” Ready for the season.”

Friday was just preseason, but it gave Robinson several firsts, including swapping his first NFL jersey after the game, trading his black No. 7 Falcons jersey for former Texas teammate Joseph Osai’s white No. 58 Bengals jersey. exchange is included. As a rookie, his locker is one of several temporary lockers in the middle of the locker room, which do not have enough permanent lockers to handle the current 90-man roster.

The Falcons took Robinson out of Texas with the eighth pick in April’s draft, and at a time when NFL running backs are being devalued throughout the league, Atlanta is investing heavily in the position. The Falcons had the NFL’s No. 3 offensive tackle last year without him, so there’s a lot of optimism about what he can bring to the attack and how he can take the pressure off a young quarterback.

“He’s unbelievable,” said the Pro Bowl guard chris lindstrom after the game. “He’s very talented, works very hard. For him to come out and have success, it’s amazing. I can’t wait to see what happens in the future.”

[Auman: NFL young talent rankings: No. 19 Falcons’ stockpile headlined by Bijan Robinson]

Falcons coach Arthur Smith opted not to play his starters in the preseason opener, which gave him a chance to showcase Robinson, as well as Ridder and a healthy tight end, on the home field on Friday. kyle pittsI am back after missing most of last season due to injury.

Smith said, “I thought he handled it really well.” “I figured Bijn must have been working fast, and it certainly didn’t seem like a big deal for him.”

The Falcons limited themselves to penalties throughout Friday’s game, with seven penalties in the first quarter alone, so Atlanta actually had 106 yards of offense on that opening drive. Ridder ran the ball 10 yards to the receiver mac hollinsPitts 9, Hollins 10, receivers 12 and 21 Drake London and 12 to the receiver khadrel hodgeExcept for Robinson’s 20 yards.

Bijon Robinson, Jalen Carter, Zay Flowers make Echo’s list of top five most influential non-QB rookies

Robinson said, “We looked very explosive.” “It didn’t end the way we wanted, but the way we did all over the field, we got some penalties, but other than that, we looked really explosive for the first drive out there.

It is unknown how much he will play in Thursday’s preseason finale at home against Pittsburgh, and then he will have 17 days before the Falcons begin the regular season at home against the Panthers.

“I’m glad we got a chance to go out there for the whole series to feel comfortable,” he added. “I felt good there.”

Greg Aumann is Fox Sports’ NFC South reporter, covering buccaneershawk, panthers and Saint. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. you can follow them on twitter @gregauman,

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