HomeSportsNFLDan Campbell compares Jahmyr Gibbs to NFL stars, evaluates fit with Lions

Dan Campbell compares Jahmyr Gibbs to NFL stars, evaluates fit with Lions

by Wade Peery
(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Detroit Lions‘ head coach Dan Campbell loves to run the rock. Last season, the Lions had one of the league’s most explosive offensive attacks. They ran the football exceptionally well with the 1-2 punch of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Detroit ran for 128.2 yards per game last season, good enough for 11th in the NFL. This offseason, both Swift and Williams have both moved on from the Motor City.

The Lions brought in former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery. In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Detroit coaching staff clearly coveted the skills of former Alabama star running back Jahmyr Gibbs. They wanted to pair him with David Montgomery. The Lions didn’t hesitate to select Gibbs with the No. 12 overall pick in the first round of this year’s draft. It was a move that surprised many people. Campbell recently discussed on The Green Light podcast with former Virginia star Chris Long why the Lions decided to take him at 12th overall.

Dan Campbell gushed about how much the Lions’ organization loved Gibbs

“Yeah, look, Brad [Holmes] and myself, along with personnel department coaches, we really liked Gibbs early in the process. He really stood out to us and when we saw him we thought of him…It wasn’t running back that we saw, we saw weaponry. It was running back that we saw. We saw weaponry. And you know, he reminded me alot of AK [Alvin Kamara] certainly. When I was with the Giants we had to play with Tiki Barber. In this kind of mold of these backs that can do more than just carry the ball, you know,” Campbell said.

“And so, that’s how we thought of him. And the other thing about that was unique, when you think about how he meshes and the fit that he’ll have with Montgomery, man, with David Montgomery. And this is very much a two-back system in the fact that we’re gonna ask guys to do what they do well. And they’re both gonna be a big part of this offense,” Campbell said.

“Now, I know Montgomery’s definitely gonna be in. I would assume Gibbs is. That’s why we drafted him, but he’s gonna have to earn his touches, too, now. But, man, we just thought it was a good fit. And yes, [we] were very much worried that somebody was gonna get him. We were worried that somebody was gonna trade up and get him and not just take him once we slid back to 12,” Campbell said.

He was a dynamic tailback the past few seasons for Alabama and Georgia Tech

Jahmyr Gibbs displayed his super soft set of hands this year for the Crimson Tide. He hauled in 44 catches — finishing second in school history for catches by a running back in a single season. He also racked up 1,628 all-purpose yards this year for Alabama. That ranked him third in the SEC and 21st in the nation. Gibbs had 151 carries this season for 926 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

During his three-year college career, he racked up 2,132 total rushing yards and 1,212 total receiving yards. He racked up 3,344 total yards and 23 total touchdowns during his time at Georgia Tech and Alabama.