Jahmyr Gibbs - RB - Alabama
Jahmyr Gibbs was maybe a lesser-known name in terms of draft prospects for the average fan while he was at Georgia Tech during his first two years in college. But then he made the big announcement to transfer to Alabama, and the headlines were all over him. It was an obvious splash transfer move in the first big transfer portal off-season, and it paid dividends. He is now projected to be a fringe first-round running back with a floor of Round 2 in the upcoming NFL Draft. Could he even challenge Bijan Robinson for the first RB taken in this class with his skill set?
Height: 5′ 9″
Weight: 199 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.36s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: 33.5″
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Geoff Collins took over as the head coach of Georgia Tech in 2019 and promised a renaissance of their offense, transitioning from the previous triple option approach. That following year, in 2020, he brought in two four-star prospects that would lead the charge in Jeff Sims and Jahmyr Gibbs. 2020 was a long year for the Yellow Jackets as they went 3-7 in a short season with both Jeff Sims and Jahmyr Gibbs starting as true freshmen. Gibbs had over 750 total yards, putting his all-purpose title to the test right away with 24 receptions, 303 yards, and 3 touchdowns through the air. The following year continued to disappoint as a whole for the Yellow Jackets as they went 3-9. Gibbs was the only bright spot on the team amassing over 1200 total yards, and once again getting it done through the air as well as the ground with over 450 receiving yards.
Then the Geoff Collins approach started to break down with limited success. Gibbs decided to make the big jump to the University of Alabama, obviously seeing a massive opportunity to make a big jump in the eyes of the NFL Draft community. He was one of the first big names in the transfer portal era to make the leap to a college with higher weekly competition, and it paid massive dividends. He had the best season of his career, needing 1,000 rushing yards with 926, but continuing to get it done on the ground with 1370 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns. He was vital to Alabama’s success in 2022 as a true junior, leading the team in rushing attempts, rushing yards, receptions, and total touchdowns.
Jahmyr Gibbs might be one of the best two-dimensional running backs in this draft class. He can get it done on the ground and through the air at a highly efficient rate. He has elite burst and acceleration, great top-end speed, a smooth change of direction, and solid vision. He’s slightly undersized based on his listed weight, but he has surprising strength and contact balance. His ability to push piles and require multiple defenders to take him down is impressive. As well as his ability to smoothly run through arm tackles.
As a receiver, he runs fluid routes for a running back and possesses very reliable hands. Additionally, when he gets into the open field, he navigates his open-field blockers well and has the speed to take it to the house whether on the ground or after the catch. He’s truly a home run waiting to happen with the top-end speed and acceleration that he offers. An exciting and dynamic player to watch on any given play, and that play looks like it can easily translate to the next level after showing he can face the best of the best defenses in the league.
The vision that Gibbs shows can seem inconsistent at times, but it really seemed that stemmed from learning to gel with his offensive line at Alabama. While at Georgia Tech, he had no time to identify holes because, frankly, there generally weren’t holes for him to run through. And the Georgia Tech offense that he participated in was fairly bland and predictable, not conducive to an efficient running game. At Alabama though, he could get ahead of his blockers and fail to be patient enough to see things open up. That flaw faded as the season went on.
If Gibbs wants to be a true third-down back, he really needs to improve as a pass protector. This might be another knock due to his size, but he would miss assignments too often or simply let defenders run by him. Going back to his size, he’s currently listed as 5’11” and 200 lbs. Alabama’s strength and conditioning program can get him to the 205-210lb range that he needs to be in to be considered a legitimate workhorse at the next level that commands volume that fantasy managers want to see. The thing to see is if he can play at that weight and if he can run the measurables that the community expects to see at the combine at that weight (assuming he does weigh in close to 210 lbs). But even at his 200 lbs, he can fill a role by getting the important touches that fantasy managers care about (receptions and efficient rushing attempts).
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Late Round 1/Early Round 2
While there is some buzz about Jahmyr Gibbs getting first-round draft capital, it is probably more likely that he will go early to mid-round 2. He’s a versatile player that can run the ball effectively, receive passes out of the backfield or line up wide, and even return kicks when necessary. His prowess in both facets of the running back game, especially the receiving game that is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s game, makes him a great fit for a lot of teams, even if it is a 1a vs 1b situation.
If he goes round 1, the Eagles at the end of the first round is an excellent fit. Assuming they let Miles Sanders walk in free agency, Gibbs could immediately step in as the 1a in that offense and be a great compliment to Jalen Hurts in that offense. It’s a luxury pick, but also a pick that fills a need. In the second round, Miami is an absolutely phenomenal landing spot. With their outside zone run scheme and Mike McDaniel’s offensive mind, he could be unleashed to his fullest extent in that offense. Additionally, it would fill a massive void that has been occupied by running back journeymen for the past couple of years.
Post Draft Analysis
Detroit Lions- Round 1, Pick 12
Jahmyr Gibbs going early in the first round was one of the many surprises that filled the first round of the NFL Draft. Many analysts expected Gibbs to go late in the first round into the early second round, so the Lions shocked a lot of people by taking Gibbs just 3 picks after Bijan, clearly stating that they believe Gibbs is right in that tier alongside Bijan. It is a bit curious as at the time they had D’Andre Swift still on contract and David Montgomery who just signed this offseason. As soon as the pick came in, it was obvious from the team’s message after the Day 1 of the draft that Swift’s time with the organization was coming to an end soon. And just that happened on Day 3 of the NFL Draft as Swift was moved to Philadelphia for a future fourth-round pick. A win-win scenario for all teams and players involved.
With Swift officially out, there are very clear roles in this backfield. Gibbs should be the 1a in this backfield getting the fantasy valuable touches, specifically receptions, and Montgomery will be the 2 down bruiser and will serve to spell Gibbs. Gibbs should still push 15 to 20 touches a game with a quarter of those likely coming through the air. It’ll be interesting to see how Gibbs and Amon-Ra St. Brown coexist in the passing game. But the Lions took Gibbs in the top half of the 1st round for a reason. They have a good idea of how to utilize him, and that utilization will be significant and valuable usage.
For redraft and dynasty leagues, Gibbs is obviously a lot riskier of a proposition than Bijan Robinson. But the Lions clearly made it known that they view Gibbs in the same tier as Bijan. Fantasy managers shouldn’t cling to that necessarily, but Gibbs provides a ceiling where that is a reality. He’s a great investment right after the quarterbacks in rookie superflex dynasty leagues, and right after Bijan in 1QB dynasty leagues as he has yearly RB1 upside and 100 yearly targets are well within the realm of possibilities. In redraft is going to be a great mid round shot as Gibbs has a legitimate ceiling of a top 12 running back in year 1.