Positions aren't that important to Antonio Gibson; he just wants to be an offensive weapon.
With the No. 66 pick in the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected the playmaker out of Memphis, who played running back and wide receiver for the Tigers. Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner love versatility in their players, and they feel like they have that in Gibson.
Here's how draft pundits graded the move:
Maybe Gibson should be listed as an "offensive weapon" instead of a running back. He does it all. Will the Redskins be able to get the most out of him?
It will be interesting to see how Washington uses Gibson in its offense. Ron Rivera probably sees some
Curtis Samuel (who Rivera picked in the second round while in Carolina) in Gibson's game: versatile, strong and fast. Or maybe former Panthers offensive coordinator Scott Turner will use him a bit like he did Christian McCaffrey? Gibson's best position fit may be purely as a running back, though, a power player to take over from Adrian Peterson down the road.
"Electric playmaker who can hit big plays at WR or RB. Still learning the latter position. Raw game. Didn't have a ton of volume at either spot in college. Burst and long speed are outstanding for a good-sized runner.
Gibson looked like Barry Sanders against SMU, with long rushing, receiving and return touchdowns. He shows flashes of game-breaking ability, and his 4.39-second 40 at the combine suggests his athleticism will translate to the NFL. But there are long stretches where he looks like just another mid-major slot guy, particularly against stiffer competition.
Gibson could develop quickly into a cross between Deebo Samuel and Austin Ekeler. At the very least, he should be like Washington all-purpose back Chris Thompson, only better and not injured for months at a time.
When healthy, you can argue that scat back Chris Thompson has been one of Washington's three most valuable offensive players. The problem is Thompson has not been healthy nearly often enough, missing at least five games in each of the last three seasons. So, Washington has drafted a younger version of Thompson; a dynamic receiving back can be a good friend for a young pocket passer like Dwayne Haskins.
Is he a receiver or a running back? Gibson split time between the two positions but lined up mostly in the slot. I thought his best fit was at running back, though, so this is interesting. Either way, he's an eye-opening athlete who struggled with the playbook early at Memphis and remains a bit raw, but his big-play upside is just fascinating. Think Cordarrelle Patterson-ish.
The Redskins stole Terry McLaurin in last year's draft to be their No. 1, but they needed more big-play ability at the position. Gibson (6-0, 228 pounds) is an explosive after-the-catch player who excels in breaking free in the open field.
Gibson is a home run hitter at running back and wide receiver and should provide an instant boost to a Washington offense in desperate need of one. The Redskins will be able to spread the versatile Memphis product all over the field, which should make him an integral part of the offense right off the bat.