2023 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Fantasy Football)
Alabama running backs just produce in the NFL. Mark Ingram, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris, Brian Robinson and yes, even Eddie Lacy (and others) have been staples of fantasy rosters for the last decade. When you think about those backs, they’re all prototypical big-bodied backs who can carry the load.
What’s interesting is that we now have a new Alabama RB entering the NFL, but his profile is much different compare to the aforementioned ‘Bama backs under Nick Saban. Jahmyr Gibbs is an undersized back, but he’s explosive and dynamic when he gets in the open field and shines in the receiving game. We’ll take a look at his college production profile, check out what’s on tape, and discuss what his fantasy outlook might look like in 2023 and beyond.
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2023 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2023.
College Production Profile
|Year||School||Games||Attempts||Rush Yards||Yards/Att||Rush TD||Receptions||Receiving Yards|
Coming out of high school in Georgia, Jahmyr Gibbs was a four-star recruit and chose to stay close to home, signing with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. After a great start to his college career as a freshman, Gibbs earned All-ACC honors at three (Yes, 3!) different positions in 2021 while he piled up over 1,200 scrimmage yards. That season, Gibbs was first team All-ACC as an all-purpose back, and he was a second-team All-ACC specialist in the return game with almost 600 yards in the kick return game. The fact that his coaches decided to use him in that role tells you a lot about how dynamic he can be with the ball in the open field.
By going to Georgia Tech, Gibbs was able to get on the field early in his career, and per our Production Profiles in the Dynasty Pass, Gibbs has the lowest Breakout Age (defined as the age in which an RB first posts a 20+ Dominator Rating) among all RBs in the 2023 class. When you look at historical data that helps predict which college players might be able to make an impact on our fantasy rosters, early production (i.e. a low breakout age) and players who declare for the NFL Draft early are strong predictors of success. Gibbs definitely checks both of those boxes.
After two impressive years at Tech, Gibbs made the decision to enter the transfer portal, which helped him land at Alabama in 2022. Now, no disrespect to Georgia Tech or the ACC, but clearly, Alabama is a perennial top-5 college program with the SEC largely considered the best conference in college football. I point this out because Gibbs’ numbers and his efficiency metrics actually improved when he took his talents to the SEC where the competition gets even tougher. While at ‘Bama, Gibbs’ 44 receptions were the second-most in a single season all-time in the program’s history for a running back.
Fellow writer and dynasty specialist, Marvin Elequin, credits Jahmyr Gibbs as a 95th percentile RB prospect in his model, which is right up there with the likes of Breece Hall, Najee Harris, and Travis Etienne when they came out of college. Certainly, Gibbs’ production profile is exactly what we’re looking for in a fantasy RB prospect – he’s an early declare who broke out early with excellent numbers in the receiving game.
Finally, let's compare the 2023 class to 2021/2022:
• Bijan Robinson = Elite Prospect
• 5 of my top 10 are from the 2023 class w/ Evans & Bigsby not far behind
Draft capital could still influence this, but this RB class clearly provides plenty of upside & depth![7 of 7] pic.twitter.com/jrshk0XJU4
— Marvin Elequin (@FF_MarvinE) February 3, 2023
|20.9||5′ 11″||200 lbs.||18.5|
At 5′ 11″ and just 200 pounds, Gibbs probably lacks the prototypical size to turn into an every-down RB in the NFL, or at least that’s the primary concern. Among RBs entering the NFL Draft this year, Gibbs currently weighs in as the fourth-lightest back in the class, well below the college average for an NFL RB1 in our database, which is 219 pounds. Of course, this doesn’t mean Gibbs won’t be productive in the NFL, but it is something to consider when projecting his role and potential workload in the NFL.
What’s on Tape
Games viewed: Louisiana (2020), Pitt (2021), Tennessee (2022), Texas A&M (2022), Utah State (2022), LSU (2022), Texas (2022)
1. Jahmyr Gibbs is probably the best receiving back in the class.
It’s impossible to watch Gibbs play and not be impressed with his receiving game. Gibbs is a mismatch on linebackers who can create separation on option routes with great hands and the ability to create after the ball is in his hands. Per PFF, Gibbs led all running backs over the last three seasons with 25 receptions of 15+ yards. He also had just two drops on 103 catchable targets in his college career. No doubt, Gibbs’ #1 attribute is his ability to be an explosive weapon in the receiving game.
2. Gibbs is a threat on outside-zone runs.
Most of the highlight reel plays you see on Gibbs’ tape are when he’s on the edge where his speed and acceleration shine. Jahmyr Gibbs may lack the power and strength to pick up yards between the tackles in the NFL, but on outside zone runs, Gibbs has good vision and is decisive. When he sees the hole, he puts his foot in the ground and excels up field. From there, Gibbs is a home run threat waiting to happen as he’s got the burst and acceleration to make safeties look silly in the open field if they take a bad angle.
3. The Alabama RB can change direction without losing much speed.
This play above really shows the athleticism that makes Gibbs so dangerous. He takes the handoff and as soon as the hole opens, he shows good burst to get to the second level. The safety approaches and Gibbs quickly sticks his foot in the ground to change direction and then again shows great acceleration to break into the open field. Plays like this are all over Gibbs’ tape, and it’s that burst + change of direction combination that makes him so dangerous.
What’s NOT on Tape
1. The ability to grind out “tough” yards up the middle.
Gibbs is a back who excels when he’s on the perimeter or in open space. He’s not necessarily going to be the back at the next level whose number is going to be called on 3rd and 2 when the offense needs a first down. When watching his tape, one thing that stuck out to me was his lack of ability to get through the line and push the pile when the running lane wasn’t clear. At just 5′ 11″ and 200 pounds, this isn’t too much of a surprise. Fortunately for us in fantasy, the way Gibbs wins is via his receiving ability, so while this is a potential knock on his overall profile, I do not personally believe we should hold it against him in terms of fantasy outlook, especially in PPR formats. More on that in a minute.
2. Yards After Contact
Despite the fact that Gibbs is known as a dynamic playmaker who can make guys miss thanks to his elusiveness, I didn’t see a ton of yards after contact when I watched his tape. Now, this isn’t to say that he’s a guy that goes down easily and can’t finish, but it almost seemed to me like Gibbs needed the play to be blocked correctly in order to pick up a chunk gain. Per PFF, here’s where Gibbs ranked among RBs in terms of his tackle-breaking ability and yards after contact.
- Yards After Contact: 512 (70th)
- Yards After Contact per Attempt: 3.4 (45th)
- Missed Tackles Forced: 38 (T-69th)
- Missed Tackles Forced per Attempt: 0.25 (T-57th)
All in all, these numbers suggest Gibbs is average in terms of his tackle-breaking ability. It’s certainly not his calling card.
Jahmyr Gibbs is the type of back who may not have been all that fantasy relevant 10 years ago, but because the NFL is transforming into a pass-first league where the RB position, in general, is de-valued with several teams opting for a committee approach, Gibbs is very likely to contribute right away as a receiver with the potential to turn into a 150-200 carry type of guy who can also catch 50+ passes in the right system. For PPR leagues, that type of skillset and usage is plenty of enough touches for Gibbs to make an impact, even as a rookie. Of course, a lot of his outlook will be scheme dependent, but if he lands with a team who utilizes the RB out of the backfield, Gibbs is the archetype of running back I like to bet on, especially in PPR leagues. A lot of other analysts have made the Alvin Kamara comp when watching Gibbs play. Obviously, that’s his fantasy ceiling, but I think that sort of role in the NFL makes a ton of sense.
According to GrindingTheMocks, which sources NFL Mock Drafts from around the industry, Gibbs has an expected draft position of 36.3, which would give him early Round 2 NFL Draft capital. In addition, multiple NFL Draft analysts have Gibbs ranked very highly on their big boards. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has Gibbs as his 28th overall player prior to the Combine while The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Gibbs ranked at #21 as of the middle of February.
Given that he’s likely to hear his name called early on day two of the NFL Draft and he’s got the production profile and early Breakout Age we’re looking for, Jahmyr Gibbs looks like an exciting prospect for dynasty rookie drafts. In single QB leagues, Gibbs is likely to go inside the top three picks of rookie drafts while he could fall to the middle of the first round in Superflex leagues with QBs getting pushed up the board. Regardless of format, dynasty managers looking to add Gibbs to their roster will certainly need an early Round 1 pick to add him to their squad.