The ire about the Detroit Lions drafting Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall remains, with one outlet naming it one of the worst offseason decisions in the entire NFL.
It has become a well-worn narrative of criticism. The Detroit Lions took running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in last month’s draft, going against all the widely held modern criteria of positional value. Except in rare and special cases these days, they say, you just don’t take a running back in the first round.
It’s also fair to say the Lions don’t care about that perception, or the criticism that has come over their selection of Gibbs–to their credit perhaps. Speaking at rookie minicamp over the weekend, it’s also fair to say Gibbs couldn’t care less about the criticism of where he was drafted.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion,” Gibbs said Saturday during rookie minicamp. “I really don’t care.”
Detroit Lions drafting Jahmyr Gibbs named among worst NFL offseason decisions
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report recently ranked and counted down his seven worst decisions of the 2023 NFL offseason. At No. 6, there’s the Lions’ drafting Gibbs at No. 12.
Here’s a good portion of what Ballentine wrote.
"This isn’t about Jahmyr Gibbs. This is about opportunity cost.The problem with drafting Gibbs doesn’t lie in whether he’ll be successful, it’s the fact that Lions missed out on the opportunity to add someone else at a premium position with the 12th pick.D’Andre Swift averaged 5.5 yards per carry in the offense. Williams left in free agency and Swift was traded. The Lions went out and paid David Montgomery a three-year, $18 million contract in free agency, the second-biggest contract given to a running back in free agency by annual average value.The next five picks were either edge defenders, cornerbacks or offensive tackles—positions that have seen massive free-agent contracts handed out over the last few offseasons.Iowa pass-rusher Lukas Van Ness went to a division rival in Green Bay with the 13th pick. He could have been a great bookend to pair with Aidan Hutchinson on the defensive line. Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez went five picks later and would have given them a corner prospect to make up for Jeff Okudah, who was traded.Gibbs is likely going to be successful, but a trade back would have made more sense if they were set on drafting him."
So Swift was successful in the Lions’ offense, when he was available, and Jeff Okudah just had to be replaced in the first round of the draft. And Lukas Van Ness went to a division rival with the very next pick. So the Lions should not have drafted Gibbs at 12?
There’s an argument against the Lions taking Gibbs in the top half of the first round that won’t be going away. But mentioning Swift or Okudah is convenient, without looking any deeper. The Lions sent signals all offseason they were ready to move on from both guys, it was just a matter of time. The trade returns can be criticized, but the Lions were done with the first two picks of the last regime’s final draft.
An argument for taking Van Ness instead at No. 12 is more interesting, but it’s clear the Lions coveted Gibbs.
It’s easy (too easy, even) to lament the Lions drafting Gibbs at No. 12 overall. It may prove to be a very bad decision, once this year’s rookies start to build career resumes. But to call it one of the six worst decisions in the entire NFL this offseason is an incredible reach, with plenty of flimsy logic to try to back it up with.