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Grading the Detroit Lions’ selection of Jahmyr Gibbs

The Detroit Lions selected Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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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  • 11%
    (868 votes)
  • 19%
    (1525 votes)
  • 25%
    (1999 votes)
  • 18%
    (1468 votes)
  • 24%
    (1899 votes)
7759 votes total Vote Now

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