The Detroit Lions have selected Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Lions traded down from the sixth overall pick in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals.
My grade: D
I’m trying not to be too reactive, but I really do not like this pick. Let’s forget Gibbs for a second, and let’s look at the circumstances of the situation he’s walking into. The Detroit Lions just signed free agent running back David Montgomery to a deal averaging $6 million per year, presumably to be their bell-cow back.
On top of that, the 12th overall pick is costly. Last year, Jameson Williams’ contract after being selected at the same spot was for four years, $17.5 million. Assuming Gibbs’ rookie contract matches that, the Lions now have close to $11 million per year tied up in their running back position. More importantly, you’re paying close to $5 million annually for a backup running back. Not great value.
At the end of the day, this is a luxury pick. Gibbs’ closest pro comp was pinned by many as Alvin Kamara, but even Kamara is a three-down back and that’s not what the Lions are bringing in Gibbs for.
Let me be clear; this is not an indictment of Gibbs. He is a fine player, one who fills a gap in the Lions’ backfield with some speed and flash. I don’t want to turn against him before he has played a down of football or suited up in a Lions uniform. I hope he has all the success in the world and he turns into the Lions’ premier back of the future.
This is an indictment of the value of taking a running back, let alone the second or third on most people’s boards, at pick 12. This is an indictment of selecting a player at 12 who would have almost guaranteed to have been available at 18, or dare I say the 34th pick they hold at the time of writing this.
I need time to see how this puzzle piece fits into the big picture; in the meantime, I’m not a fan of the value or of the pick. I wish Gibbs the best and I hope we see him flourish into the player that makes this pick look like a steal in hindsight.
What grade do you give the Lions for the Jahmyr Gibbs pick?
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