The Detroit Lions obviously have big plans for rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs as an all-around offensive weapon, and the Offensive Rookie of the Year buzz is rampant. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has even hinted Gibbs could be a downfield threat in the passing game. The term "position-less weapon" is an easy one.
Versatility drove Gibbs' stock going into April's draft, pushing draft analysts and teams other than the Lions to regard him as a first-round pick. Over his three college seasons, at Georgia Tech then Alabama, he compiled 2,132 rushing yards and 1,217 receiving yards with 23 total touchdowns. Last season at Alabama, he averaged 7.0 yards per touch with 926 rushing yards and 44 catches for 441 yards.
Gibbs has the big individual goal of winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, but helping the Lions win games is his top priority. Per ESPN's Michele Steele, he knows the two things are likely to directly correlate.
"If we win, the rest will come," Gibbs told ESPN on Monday.
Jahmyr Gibbs setting sights on rare dual threat production marks during his rookie season
NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards for Gibbs in his Offensive Rookie of the Year prediction this week. Only one player (Christian McCaffrey) surpassed both of those marks last season, and going back further it's rare for someone to do so. But Gibbs thinks he can do it as a rookie.
"Most definitely," Gibbs told ESPN, "especially with this system."
The Lions' offense will provide Gibbs with ample opportunities to touch the ball, in a variety of ways as Johnson's creativity gets stretched out. The trick will be to not overwork him, as head coach Dan Campbell hinted at being smart with Gibbs' workload in the season opener with an eye on the full season. But Gibbs will have plenty of eyes on him Thursday night, and all season long.