2020 NFL Draft: 5th Round, 166th Overall
The Detroit Lions select…
Name: Antonio Gibson
Position: Wide Receiver / Running Back / Returner
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 228
2019 Stats: 14 games, 38 receptions, 735 yards, 33 carries, 369 yards, 12 total touchdowns, 645 kick return yards, 1 touchdown
Draft Round Projection: 3-5
Pick Analysis: For most players selected at this point in the draft, they’ll need to bring some versatility to the table, as well as the ability to contribute on special teams in order to secure a roster spot in the fall. Good thing for the Lions that Gibson is available here, and he fits that description perfectly.
Essentially a positionless player, Gibson offers some explosive athleticism (4.39 40-yard dash) with the potential to contribute in nearly any phase of the game. While the majority of his offensive snaps at Memphis came as a slot receiver, Gibson could have a future as an NFL running back, thanks to his tank-like frame.
He also could help challenge for opportunities in the return game, as he racked up over 600 yards and a score bringing back kicks in 2019. His speed and physical nature could help him be a factor covering kickoffs as well.
The knock against Gibson is his relative lack of experience. Prior to his explosive 2019 production, he had appeared in just five games, with six total touches on offense (including 0 carries). He is still learning multiple positions, and it would likely take some patience from his drafting team at the next level with this intriguing project player.
The Lions seem likely to add to their running back stable in the draft, and they may hear pleas from many sources to seek out a more traditional ball carrier. However, they like their depth players to have special teams value as well as offensive adaptability, which Gibson has much of. They will likely accept his lack of polish and experience on offense in favor of his potential in the third phase.