Jahmyr Gibbs will be hearing this question at least through training camp, possibly longer. And truthfully, he’s probably wondered about it as well.
The Lions selected Gibbs with the 12th pick of the NFL Draft. That was four spots behind Bijan Robinson. Most draft analysts believed Robinson would be the only back to go in the first round. And many pondered whether he’d end up as a late first rounder. It doesn’t matter about how much talent a tailback has. NFL teams have downgraded their draft value.
So did Detroit use too much draft capital for Gibbs, the former Alabama star? Quit asking the question, he says.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion,” Jahmyr Gibbs said Saturday as the Lions rookies went through a second day of mini camp. “I really don’t care.”
Gibbs tweaked an ankle, so he isn’t participating in Lions rookie camp. However, he is watching and learning the play book.
Meanwhile, we know these draft facts about running backs. First round backs are becoming a rarity. A year ago, no running backs made it to the first round. Saquon Barkley, who the Giants selected as the No. 2 pick in 2018, was the last tailback before Robinson to go in the top 10. In 2017, two backs did so — LSU’s Leonard Fournette (fourth to the Jaguars) and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (eighth to the Panthers). In fact, before Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs, Fournette and McCaffrey were the last two backs to go amongst the top 12. Then in 2016, the Cowboys used the fourth pick on Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott.
Now, if you sort through those top 10 backs, Barkley is the only one still with his original team.
Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs always will be linked by 2023 Draft
Gibbs said he’s good with being linked with Robinson.
“Me and Bijan, we’re cool. We get along good. That’s my boy,” Jahmyr Gibbs said. “So every time I see him — you know we had the same coach in college — so all three of us have a great relationship.”
Gibbs spent only one season at Alabama. He transferred from Georgia Tech for the 2022 season. He gained 926 yards with seven touchdowns. And he also caught the ball well, leading the Tide with 44 catches for another three scores. Gibbs also can return kicks and punts. He does own valuable skills.
As a recent rule, the Lions didn’t spend lofty draft picks on backs, either. Jahmyr Gibbs is Detroit’s highest-drafted running back since they selected Barry Sanders with the third pick of the 1989 draft. That worked out well, didn’t it.