*Walt taking 2014 and 2018
Charlie Campbell, Senior Draft Analyst
Jahmyr Gibbs Consensus First-rounderUpdated March 24, 2023
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Over the past decade, the running back position has been downgraded as a premium position to draft in the first round by NFL teams. Last year, there were zero halfbacks taken on the opening night of the draft despite there being two very good prospects in the Iowa State’s Breece Hall – New York Jets – and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker – Seattle Seahawks. Both were taken in the second round. For the 2023 NFL Draft, Texas running back Bijan Robinson is a consensus first-round pick, but he isn’t alone. Sources from eight of the 11 different teams that WalterFootball.com spoke with had Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with a first-round grade. Some of them have Gibbs among the highest-graded players in the draft at any positions.
“We only have four players with an elite grade,” said an AFC director of player personnel. “Bijan Robinson, Will Anderson, Jalen Carter and Jahmyr Gibbs. We have Gibbs just a hair behind Robinson.”
Gibbs showed big-play ability at both Georgia Tech and Alabama during his collegiate career. In 2022, Gibbs averaged 6.1 yards per carry for 926 yards and seven touchdowns for the Crimson Tide. He also had 44 receptions for 444 yards and three scores. At the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, Gibbs showed tremendous speed with a time of 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash. His speed has drawn some comparisons to Chris Johnson, and his style of play has evoked a lot of echoes of Alvin Kamara.
One NFC director of player personnel texted WalterFootball.com, “I think Gibbs is one of the best prospects in the draft, period.”
“I can’t imagine [Gibbs] not being a first-round pick,” said an AFC assistant general manager.
However, there were a couple of sources who felt the downgrading of running backs could bump Gibbs down.
“Positional value with runners,” said an NFC general manager. “Both Hall and Walker were second-rounders, yet both were d*** good players. You can always get runners.”
It only takes one team to pull the trigger on a prospect, and with the consensus of Gibbs grading out as a first-round pick, he stands a good shot of going in the back half of Round 1 on the opening night of the 2023 NFL Draft.