Why scouts think Redskins picking Antonio Gibson was a bit of a reach
The Washington Redskins added Antonio Gibson with the 66th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Some scouts offered their thoughts on Gibson and intimated that he was a bit of a reach. Here’s why that doesn’t matter too much.
Few if any expected the Washington Redskins to take a running back in the early stages of the 2020 NFL Draft. They had several other more glaring holes to fill, but they elected to add a player at the position to continue to build depth in that area.
The player they drafted? Memphis offensive weapon Antonio Gibson. The two-year Tiger spent most of his time at receiver in college, but he figures to move to the running back position at the NFL level. He has great size and speed for the position and his best tape came when running the ball.
Though Gibson has immense upside, the Redskins’ selection of him wasn’t universally loved. In a recent piece by Ben Standig of The Athletic, a scout viewed the selection of Gibson at 66 as “very rich.” Here’s what he said about the Washington rookie.
More from Riggo's Rag
- Highlighting the best Commanders 2023 NFL Draft betting props
- 3 late Commanders rumors drawing buzz ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft
- 4 bold predictions for the Commanders 2023 NFL Draft
- Commanders News: Chase Young trade, draft day, CB riser and Sam Howell
- Bet365 VA Bonus Code – Claim $200 Guaranteed With Sign-Up Bonus
"A tough one for me because when I scouted Antonio Gibson halfway through the season, I basically had a priority free agent grade on him. I was not impressed with him as a wide receiver. He played tailback mostly late in the year. I know he ran below a 4.4 40-time at the combine (4.39), but I didn’t ever think that speed showed up on tape.For us, we were talking about him in the back-half of the fourth. For me, it was very rich in the third round for what we viewed as a franchise. He’ll be a tailback. That’s going to be obviously where his future is. And if he’s a second or third tailback, change-of-pace guy that can return kicks for you, he’s going to have some value there. He’ll be a coverage player on special teams unit, but I don’t ever see him being a No. 1 tailback and maybe a player with no position. Hopefully, Derrius (Guice) can be healthy because (Gibson) would be a good complement to him, but the third round was pretty rich for me."
The same scout would later go on to say that he would’ve rather selected target Lynn Bowden, another all-around weapon type, or Darryton Evans, a true between-the-tackles running back, instead of Gibson at that juncture.
But as another scout pointed out, even though Gibson went earlier than they expected, it’s understandable why that happened.
"Antonio Gibson at 66 a little high for me, but I understand why they did it. Rivera has had Christian McCaffrey. Ron likes those guys who they can get the ball to in different spots. Gibson’s receiver tape is not great, but his RB tape is. The combine helped him, but not a third-round pick for me."
I would tend to agree with this statement more. Gibson was a little bit of a reach, and many expected him to go in the fourth round. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where the Redskins selected him. He fits what Rivera and Scott Turner are looking for. They want a Christian McCaffrey-type who can catch the ball out of the backfield and make big plays. You could argue that Derrius Guice could maybe do that, but there’s no guarantee that he can stay healthy after struggling with injuries throughout his young NFL career.
So, Rivera and Turner went out and got their guy. And given their success with McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, another hybrid running back/receiver who has found a role as a receiver in Carolina, it makes sense that they would go after a guy like Gibson.
When watching Gibson’s tape, it’s easy to see what they like, too. He’s a truly explosive player who can change the game with his return ability and elusiveness and strength as a runner. Those types of players find homes in the NFL and if the ‘Skins can scheme Gibson some touches, it should pay off in the early stages of his career.
Scouts’ opinions on players always differ to varying degrees. That’s what makes the NFL Draft so unpredictable. While a few scouts may have seen Gibson as a reach, Rivera and Kyle Smith clearly didn’t. It will be interesting to see if the Memphis product can prove him them right during his rookie season.