After watching tape on Jahmyr Gibbs, here is what I learned and how the Lions can use his skill set to their advantage.
Jahmyr Gibbs was taken 12th overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft. To many, it was a surprise pick and seen as a reach. I fell into that category on draft night. But after learning more about the player and what he can do on the field, that “reach” stance was definitely softened.
Gibbs has something that cannot be taught: speed. He has drawn comparison to Alvin Kamara, which I don’t disagree with. When out in space, nobody is going to catch him. You give him a clean hole to run in, he is going to rip off chunks of yardage.
In the clip below from CBSSports (starting at the 1:47-1:48 mark), he takes a handoff at his own 28-yard line, angles right, set up his blocks, finds the hole and almost casually takes it 72 yards for a touchdown.
On that run he showed off patience, vision, and burst. All three of those traits can easily translate to success in the NFL.
Where Gibbs has the potential to be really lethal is in the passing game. He has good hands, and the same explosive element he brings as a runner applies to after the catch.
Gibbs had 44 receptions for 444 yards and three touchdowns last season at Alabama, and including his two seasons at Georgia Tech he averaged 11.8 yards per catch during his college career.
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is going to have fun using Gibbs a mismatch weapon in the passing game, Gibbs will be lined up as a traditional running back and get his share of carries, but that is not necessarily where he will be used or should be used the most.
One area Gibbs needs to improve is finishing off his runs with power. Very rarely does the first guy bring him down due to his quick feet, vision, and purely being able to make a guy miss. But rarely does he run through tackles or break tackles. He’s just not great running between the tackles.
But the Lions don’t really need that from Gibbs right way. The workhorse role is what David Montgomery was brought in to do. Gibbs is more set to step into the role vacated by D’Andre Swift, and if he can stay on the field he’s lined up to be an upgrade.