Antonio Gibson played mostly receiver in college at Memphis, but the third-round pick by Washington has been compared to one of the NFL’s top running backs in Christian McCaffrey. Here are Gibson’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Redskins’ over/under win total.
The Redskins selected Gibson with the 66th pick of April’s draft. Just moments after the Redskins took him, the running back/wide receiver hybrid was asked what position he plans to play in the NFL. Gibson’s answer was simple: “I view myself as a weapon.” The 21-year-old is officially listed as a running back, and the No. 24 jersey that he will wear backs that up.
Gibson played college football at East Central Community College for two years prior to transferring to Memphis. In his two years at East Central, he had 50 receptions for 871 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns, 27 kick returns, 554 kick-return yards and 249 rushing yards.
He played wide receiver and running back at Memphis. Last year, he ranked in the top three on the team in rushing (2nd; 369 yards), receiving (2nd; 735 yards), kick returns (1st; 645 yards), all-purpose yards (2nd; 1,749 yards) and scoring (3rd; 78 points). Gibson was third among the American Athletic Conference leaders in scoring (9th; 13 TD), kick-return average (2nd; 28.0), all-purpose average (4th; 124.9).
He had seven games with 100 or more all-purpose yards and scored a TD in six-straight games from Tulsa to Cincinnati (The American Championship Game). Gibson had a school-record and career-high 386 all-purpose yards (97 rush/130 receive/159 kick return) in a win over SMU. The 386 all-purpose yards also were an AAC game record and the most in an FBS game in 2019. He also set career-highs for long rush (78 yards), receptions (6), receiving yards (130), kick-return yards (159) and kick-return long (97) vs. the Mustangs. Gibson scored a TD vs. SMU via a rush, pass and return to become the first Tigers player to score a TD three different ways in a game since Arkelon Hall in 2008.
Gibson enters the league as more of an “offensive weapon” than a wide receiver or running back, but early comparisons to Christian McCaffrey by head coach Ron Rivera suggest he’ll focus primarily on the latter.
“He’s a little bit bigger than Christian, but he’s got a skill set like Christian,” said Rivera, who coached McCaffrey for two seasons with Carolina. “This is a very versatile, young football player that we really think is going to be a guy that can get on the field for us early and contribute.”
Gibson is big (6-foot, 228 pounds) and a terrific athlete with excellent power, speed (4.39 40-yard dash) and elusiveness. He’s a terror with the ball in his hands, having averaged 8.4 yards per carry and 13.1 yards per target (11.9 RAC) in 2019.
The Redskins want to run more 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end) with Gibson and Derrius Guice or Adrian Peterson on the field at the same time. Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner said he will need to creatively get the ball to Gibson, J.D. McKissic and Steven Sims.
“You want to be as unpredictable as possible,” Turner explained. “Guys that are able to do more things give you more options.” Turner previously experimented by giving Curtis Samuel nine carries over Carolina’s last four games in 2019, likely envisioning Gibson in a similar role this upcoming year.
Gibson also will be used on special teams. Nate Kaczor, Washington’s special teams coordinator, believes that the combination of Gibson’s size and speed will allow him to make an impact for the Redskins specials unit in a variety of ways.
“He’s big and fast,” Kaczor said. “He [is] 220-ish pounds, some people had him in the low 4.4’s, high 4.3 area. Regardless of what time he’s prescribed to, he’s fast. He’s not only a returner; he can bring some protection and speed and coverage.”