The 1st round of this year’s NFL Draft was loaded with surprises.
The Texans traded up for the draft’s 3rd pick after making the 2nd pick.
Christian Gonzalez fell to the Patriots at pick 7.
Will Levis wasn’t drafted until Day 2.
Still, there was no bigger surprise than the Detroit Lions using the 12th overall pick to take Jahmyr Gibbs.
The Lions had already signed David Montgomery this offseason and still had D’Andre Swift on their roster. They also needed a corner and Gonzalez was still on the board.
Despite the unexpected nature of the pick, it seems it was a move that at least one NFL executive agreed with.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler revealed that an executive in the NFC told him he thought Gibbs was a great pick regardless of positional value.
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*Patriots troll Jets at 14?
*Would Ravens have taken Levis?
NFL draft nuggets for every team's rookie class: Execs' reactions, depth chart fits, remaining needs https://t.co/EoqPKgEhX3
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 8, 2023
“They said the hell with value and just took good football players,” an NFC executive told Fowler. “That guy [Jahmyr Gibbs] is a player. When they tee it up on Sunday, I don’t think anyone will care where he was taken. And those players very much fit Dan Campbell’s toughness approach.”
The impact that Gibbs makes on the franchise will certainly impact the perception of this pick over time. The fact that they were still able to address their need at corner by drafting Brian Branch in round 2 will also help with how this pick is viewed.
However, it was still a pretty big risk for the Lions to take Gibbs, especially given the history of recent 1st round running backs.
Rashaad Penny never panned out for the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots ended up trading Sony Michel for a 5th rounder and a 6th rounder after his 3rd year. The Chiefs just turned down Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 5th-year option. Najee Harris has yet to average 4 yards per carry in a season.
Even the success stories haven’t been without their issues. Saquon Barkley missed almost the entire 2020 season and then struggled in 2021 before bouncing back last season. Josh Jacobs didn’t perform well enough in his first 3 years to get the Raiders to pick up his option, but then made them regret that decision in 2022.
The Detroit Lions’ decision to draft Jahmyr Gibbs was definitely a risky one, but it at least has the approval of one NFC executive.