Detroit Lions’ freshly drafted running back, Jahmyr Gibbs, is not just another rookie. He's set a target that is ambitious, even by NFL standards. In a recent conversation with ESPN's Michele Steele, Gibbs confidently voiced his goal of achieving 1,000 rushing yards and an additional 500 through receptions in his debut season.
"Especially with this system, it’s very achievable," Gibbs remarked. Having been chosen by the Lions as the 12th overall pick, the franchise clearly envisions Gibbs as a versatile playmaker, capable of making a difference both on the ground and through the air.
While his college stint at Georgia Tech and Alabama didn’t see him reach these ambitious marks (926 rush yards and 444 receiving yards being his highest), the determination he's showcasing now can’t be ignored.
Decline in Dual Milestones
Recent NFL seasons have noted a decline in the 1,000/500-yard seasons. This is primarily because teams increasingly employ multiple running backs for varied roles. Last season, the only player to break this barrier was Christian McCaffrey, with impressive figures of 1,139 rushing and 741 receiving yards.
Players like Austin Ekeler and Alvin Kamara came tantalizingly close in recent years, but didn’t quite achieve the duo. The Lions’ strategy hints at a more innovative use of Gibbs. With the wide receiver roster looking thin, it's plausible that Gibbs will be significantly involved in the passing game.
The talented rookie believes that if the team starts the season strong, individual milestones will follow naturally. "If we win, the accolades and stats will come naturally," Gibbs expressed with conviction. The Lions' faceoff with the Kansas City Chiefs this Thursday will offer fans a preview of Gibbs’ role in the Detroit gameplan.
Chiefs' defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, is certainly wary of the rookie. "Everyone should be watching No. 26. We need to be aware of him every time he’s on the field,” Spagnuolo mentioned earlier this week. Though Gibbs will share the backfield with established player David Montgomery, which might challenge his personal stats, the Lions have demonstrated their faith in the Alabama standout by drafting him early. They believe Gibbs will be a game-changer from the get-go.