When you know, you know. In the eyes of most draftniks and fans, the Detroit Lions made arguably the most shocking pick of the first round of the NFL Draft when they grabbed former Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th pick. Gibbs was projected to be picked somewhere in the late first or early second round rather than in the top 15; boutique NFL consulting firm Evoluxion Analytics ranked him as the 27th best player in the draft while a consensus of major media big board had him 28th. Still, the Lions are clearly huge believers in the shifty back's multi-faceted skillset and may very well be proven right. In a press conference after the pick, Lions general manager Brad Holmes laid out a very simple case for why Gibbs was worth such a high draft pick: Gibbs is an excellent player and games are won by excellent players, not spreadsheets detailing positional value.
“It's not about just ‘don't pick a running back', because that's not really how we view him,” Holmes said about his team's new shifty, multi-talented running back. “If you put them in boxes, you put on a sheet of paper, you run mock draft analytics, yeah you can come up with those stats. But with all the hours and research, all the time we put into looking at these players, it becomes very, very visible what kind of impact we think [Gibbs] can bring.”
In fact, the Lions weren't merely thrilled to grab Gibbs with the 12th pick, they were prepared to pick him as high as sixth before swapping it with the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for the 12th and 34th picks.
“How highly did the [Lions] value RB Jahmyr Gibbs?” tweeted SiriusXM NFL insider Tom Pelissero. “My understanding is they would’ve been comfortable taking him at No. 6. Instead, Brad Holmes traded back with AZ, added draft capital (including No. 34) and got Gibbs at 12. A potential difference-maker in Ben Johnson’s offense.