The process will not come off as too surprising, as the Detroit Lions clearly coveted Jahmyr Gibbs.
There were some pre-draft rumors suggesting some teams had Jahmyr Gibbs higher on their draft boards than general consensus top running back Bijan Robinson. The idea was out there that the Detroit Lions were one of them, for whatever it was worth as pre-draft “intel” goes.
The Lions of course traded down from No. 6 to No. 12 overall, and indeed took Gibbs. That stoked criticism for not only taking a running back that high, but that it was Gibbs even though Robinson was gone at No. 8. Why not just stay at No. 6 and just take Robinson if you wanted a running back so bad?
On Monday, Albert Breer of SI.com had a deeper look at what led the Lions to drafting Gibbs. Overall, how it went down isn’t too surprising.
"The initial idea [for the Lions] was to get Witherspoon (or Anderson) at No. 6, then trade up from 18 to get Gibbs,” “Then Arizona traded out, the Colts took Anthony Richardson and, finally, to the Lions’ chagrin, the Seahawks took the draft’s top corner."
With Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon, a widely mock-drafted player to them at No. 6, gone at No. 5 to the Seattle Seahawks, the Lions changing their though process and looking to move down isn’t a shock. Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson was more of a pipe dream to fall to them at No. 6, but there were potential scenarios where it could have happened.
Lions were ready for criticism if they drafted Jahmyr Gibbs
"The Cardinals gave Holmes the shot to pick up a high second, slide back six spots and, fingers crossed, still land Gibbs, by staying in front of two teams the Lions heard liked him, in the Patriots (at 14) and the Jets (at 15),"
Breer added that the Lions were ready to “break the internet” and take Gibbs at No. 6, which lines up with their easy to see spin using NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero as the messenger.
"We didn’t think we’d do this at six, Holmes said to Campbell, but who cares? He’s our favorite guy left.”"
Ultimately, the Lions practically broke the internet by taking Gibbs 12th overall. Imagine if they had stayed at No. 6 and just taken him there?