Shawn Siegele, Dave Caban, Curtis Patrick, and I spent NFL Draft Sunday night arguing (in a friendly way) about rookie rankings and completing mock drafts for Volume 3 of the RotoViz Rookie Guide. I spent much of that time trying to convince my co-rankers that reasonable people could rank Jahmyr Gibbs as the rookie 1.01. I even took him first overall in one of our mocks. In truth I vacillate on whether he should really be the rookie 1.01 (I still love Bijan Robinson), but one thing I’m sure of is that he should be going earlier than he is in almost every draft.
Gibbs was the second running back taken in the NFL draft. That wasn’t much of a surprise. But it was surprising that he was drafted at No. 12 overall by the Detroit Lions. The Lions already had D ‘Andre Swift — a very similar back — and they had just signed David Montgomery on a not inexpensive deal.
In the minutes following that selection — still reeling from the shock of such an unexpected and, frankly, ill-advised reality pick — I opined that this would be a major blow to Gibbs’ fantasy value. Of course, Detroit’s plan all along was to part ways with Swift. In the sober light of day — and after Swift has actually been traded to the Eagles — we have an opportunity to reevaluate hasty draft night takes.
Gibbs’ Prospect Profile
There are few doubts about Gibbs’ talent. The true junior out of Alabama is one of the best receiving backs in recent memory. It’s no surprise he pulls in Christian McCaffrey as one of his top comps after being picked in the top 12.
However, Gibbs’ valuation in most fantasy drafts does not yet reflect this upside (in Underdog or dynasty).
In part that’s because Gibbs was not the first RB picked in 2023. He is bound to be compared to Robinson in any near future evaluations. While Robinson is worthy of a first-round pick in nearly every draft in his own right, the gap between him and Gibbs should be smaller than it is.