The Detroit Lions shocked the NFL when they drafted Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with one of their first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. If it weren’t for Bijan Robinson going to the Falcons at No. 8, Gibbs would've been the top RB selected in this class. The Lions got their future at the running back position while moving on from D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams.
2023 Fantasy Football: Jahmyr Gibbs Profile
Recap of 2022 season
Gibbs put up some historical numbers at Alabama. He had 44 receptions, the second-most from a running back in a single season for the Crimson Tide. Gibbs had 96 carries for 632 yards and three touchdowns, adding 444 receiving yards and three TDs. He was named Second Team All-SEC and was also a Second Team All-American by USA Today.
Updated Detroit Lions outlook
Trading away Swift and drafting Gibbs made some people question the Lions' front office. Adding Gibbs gives the Lions a versatile back who will make QB Jared Goff’s job much easier. Behind Gibbs, they have David Montgomery, who will be used more running the ball, but Gibbs should be the primary pass-catching back. They also added Sam Laporta in the draft to help with blocking in the run game.
Gibbs has the ability to have the best numbers of a rookie running back this season. Goff had great numbers when playing alongside Gurley, who he was able to dump the ball off too frequently. We should see a lot of that this year with Goff and Gibbs. The best case would be a top-3 finish in receiving yards for running backs while averaging 65-75 yards per game. He could be a top-12 fantasy running back this season.
The worst-case scenario for Gibbs would be an injury or fumbling issue. That could force the Lions to use Montgomery more often and he’s no stranger to a leading role. We also know the Lions used backup Jamaal Williams plenty last season, so Dan Quinn could ride the hot hand at times.
Gibbs should end up being a big weapon for the Lions. Detroit drafted Gibbs this high to make him a feature back, not to have him on the sideline. The rookie should easily fit into the top 20 RBs in fantasy football and has a very high ceiling if he’s able to perform out the gate. Gibbs feels like a strong upside pick in drafts.