PFF analyst makes bold rookie season touchdown prediction for Jahmyr Gibbs
With how it seems the Detroit Lions are likely to split the backfield work, a rookie season touchdown prediction for Jahmyr Gibbs strikes as a little bold.
The Detroit Lions added Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in last month's draft, which defied those who say you shouldn't draft a running back (except in very rare cases) in the first round. And after giving David Montgomery a three-year, $18 million deal in free agency, on the surface it felt like a bad allocation of premium draft capital.
But there's no denying Gibbs' talent, and he showed himself to a weapon in the passing game during his college career. He led Alabama in receptions last year, with 44, and the year before that at Georgia Tech his 14.1 yards after catch per reception was the most for any Power 5 running back in the last 10 years.
While Montgomery surely will step into the lead back role for the Lions in place of Jamaal Williams. Gibbs will residually step into the role vacated by D'Andre Swift.
Pro Football Focus touchdown prediction for Jahmyr Gibbs lands as bold
Swift was a fairly notable scorer over three seasons as Lion, averaging a touchdown on the ground or through the air every 20.8 touches. If he had been available or at minimum banged up less than he was, his proficiency reaching the end zone could have been even better.
As a runner and a receiver, Gibbs can pretty easily be marked for 5-10 total touchdowns as rookie. Our early fantasy projection gave him seven (four rushng, three receiving).
During a recent episode of the NFL Stock Exchange podcast, Pro Football Focus' Trevor Sikkema went to the high end of the aforementioned range.
Gibbs had 10 total touchdowns for Alabama last year--seven rushing and three receving. Five were in the red zone, and four were from inside the 10-yard line (two rushing, two receiving). From OTAs, via SI.com, Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp hinted that Gibbs could be used as a kick returner.
"That’s definitely a possibility that he does help us to some degree," Fipp said.
So Sikkema's prediction of eight, nine or even 10 total touchdowns is within the range of outcomes for Gibbs as a rookie, though it does feel like it's on the less likely high end of that range. Simply being more available than Swift was would help.