I feel like i’ve been talking about this young man the entire off season now, but were seeing the beginning of something here. I’m convinced. Antonio Gibson was never a running back, he only had 33 attempts running the ball in his entire college football career, and it was not until he was invited to the Reece’s Senior Bowl as a running back, that he made the switch. So at that point his college football career with the Memphis Tigers is over, and only the Senior Bowl stood between he and the NFL draft. It’s a risky time to switch positions, but whoever saw that in him clearly knows what they’re talking about…
Memphis has a way of developing their guys on offence to be able to do both. Tony Pollard followed the same steps converting from a receiver at Memphis into a running back in the NFL. Kenneth Gainwell who was drafted this off season by the Eagles as a running back, also has tremendous receiving ability, and Antonio Gibson is the best of the bunch.
Gibson totalled 68 rushing yards in the Senior Bowl, and the general consensus was that he looked the part too. Gibson said “I’ve been doing it since I was young. The first couple days I kind of got the hang of it [running back drills], and come game day I was comfortable with all of it and was ready to play. Football is football, and I label myself as an athlete.”
I love the young mans attitude. In college he contributed as a kick returner, receiver, and taking the ball out of the backfield, and the opportunity he has now in Washington is perfect for him. For a team with new weapons at receiver, including free agency signing Curtis Samuel and North Carolina prospect Dyami Brown, having a nailed on starting running back who can also make all sorts of catches is only going to help them further.
Last season, Gibson didn’t start for the first several games, and still ended the year with 795 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. When you add the 251 receiving yards, he was over 1000 yards all purpose for the season. This year, the praise coming out of camp on his ability as a running back is through the roof. He was thrown into it last season bearing in mind he was still learning the position, and as he started to impress and Washington began to understand they might be onto something with Gibson, he started seeing more and more reps.
Gibson is now the consensus number one running back in Washington and I am so convinced he will be putting on a show come NFL Sundays. The 6’2 220 pound back is one of the bigger guys in NFL backfields these, days and he uses his powerful frame in every bit of his running style. He just looks dangerous at all times. Washington has a couple of new faces joining him in the backfield with JD McKissic being added the ranks, who I’d expect to take the number two role and get himself some targets in the passing game too, then also look out for Jaret Patterson, who was over 100 all purpose yards in the second preseason game against the Bengals last night. The free agent has a shot to make the roster or at least the practice squad.
Antonio Gibson is going to be a top 5 back in the NFL this season, that’s where I see him heading. I think 1200 + yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground alone is very possible, and if he adds another 2-300 in the air then he’s on for an even bigger year. I love the story here, the potential, his growth and determination. Just all round a fantastic addition for Washington, who managed to grab Gibson in 3rd round of the 2020 draft. To the moon young man.