Eric WoodyardESPN3 minutes to read
Jahmyr Gibbs was chatting with friends Thursday night during the NFL Draft when his phone unexpectedly rang.
Feeling like many Detroit Lions fans, Gibbs admitted he was “shocked” when he got the call that he was selected 12th overall by Detroit as their second running back in the first round.
“Yeah, I thought I was in my 20s because that’s where the running back habit is,” Gibbs said.
After an unexpected start to the draft, the Lions traded the Cardinals’ sixth overall pick to picks No. 12 and 34. Detroit decided to up their top-five offense from last season with Gibbs, despite its needs on defense.
The Falcons used the No. 8 overall pick earlier Thursday on the former Texas star Bijan Robinsonwho became the first running back in the top 10 since Saquon Barkley was ranked second overall by the Giants in 2018.
According to ESPN’s Draft Predictor, there was a more than 99% chance that Gibbs was still available as the No. 19 pick, let alone No. 12.
But the Lions appreciated Gibbs’ personality and all-around production in college, as he finished with over 2,100 rushing yards and 1,200 receiving yards while scoring 23 total touchdowns after splitting time at Georgia Tech (2020-21) and Alabama (2022).
“I feel great,” Gibbs said. “I didn’t know I was going to be criticized as much as I do for a running back not getting selected in this new era and new era of the NFL Draft, but it was very shocking to me.
“But I am grateful to the city of Detroit.”
Gibbs is the highest-ranking player selected in Detroit’s running back since Hall of Famer Barry Sanders in 1989. It also marks the second year in a row that the Lions front office has selected an Alabama player 12th overall, after jumping 20 spots from wide . Receiving Jameson Williams at the same venue in 2022.
The Lions also had the 18th overall pick, making another surprise selection with an Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell.
The Lions add Gibbs to a loaded backfield that already includes D’Andre Swift and David Montgomery. Swift is entering the final year of his rookie contract after being drafted 35th overall in 2020, while Montgomery just signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Lions earlier this season.
“You have to look at it in a number of ways,” Lions coach Scotty Montgomery said. “He adds value also in the passing game which is a big, big value. Then you add that to what he can do from a dynamic point of view in the running game and at the end of the day it comes down to value.
“It’s one of those situations where I look at her and like [general manager] refrigerator [Holmes] And [head coach] Dan [Campbell] We looked at him, there was a value we saw in this young man, it was a value they saw in him and we made the decision to go get him.”
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