Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama | NFL Draft Scouting Report

The modern age of NFL football is built for a 2023 NFL Draft prospect like Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs. After transferring to the Crimson Tide ahead of 2022, Gibbs lived up to the hype and established himself as a resounding star in college football. Now, he makes the move to the professional level, where he’s poised to be a weapon for one lucky NFL team.

Jahmyr Gibbs NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Running Back
  • School: Alabama
  • Current Year: Junior
  • Height/Weight: 5’9″, 199 pounds

Some players are so productive in high school that they arrive in college with established notoriety. Gibbs was that player. In his career at Dalton High School in Georgia, Gibbs amassed 4,882 yards and 70 touchdowns. 2,554 of those yards and 40 of those scores came as a senior. In one game, he managed 420 yards and eight touchdowns — and he sat out the fourth quarter.

What Gibbs did to ill-fated, ill-equipped high schoolers while at Dalton can be described as nothing short of dominance. That performance played a powerful hand in landing Gibbs in the top 100 of the 2019 recruiting class. A four-star recruit, he had offers from dozens of schools but chose to sign locally with Georgia Tech.

Immediately, and for the next two seasons, Georgia Tech football became synonymous with Gibbs. Over the course of his two campaigns with the Yellow Jackets, Gibbs put up 1,974 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2021, he registered 746 yards and four scores on 143 carries, adding 35 catches for 465 yards and two scores through the air.

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It goes without saying that Gibbs was a highly-coveted asset when he entered the transfer portal late in 2021. And as they often do with top-end talents, the Alabama Crimson Tide are the ones who earned his allegiance.

Gibbs’ chapter at Alabama was a short but illustrious one. It was widely assumed that Gibbs would only play one season with the Crimson Tide. If all went well, he’d be on his way to the 2023 NFL Draft after the 2022 campaign. And that’s ultimately what happened.

Outside of quarterback Bryce Young, Gibbs was easily the brightest spot on the Alabama offense. Playing in 12 games, Gibbs racked up 151 carries for 926 yards and seven touchdowns, adding 44 catches for 444 yards and three scores as a receiver.

Gibbs’ stats do well to exemplify what makes Gibbs so dangerous as a player. On any down and in any alignment, he’s a threat to make the defense pay. That’s why he’s one of the top RB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Jahmyr Gibbs Scouting Report

Here’s a look at what Gibbs brings to the table and how the Alabama RB might be valued in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Gibbs’ Positives

The hallmark of Gibbs’ running style is his athleticism. The Alabama RB has excellent explosiveness coming upfield. Not only does he have great short-area burst, but he can also accelerate very quickly when opening up his strides. Gibbs can generate abrupt forward bursts of momentum when his path is clear, and he has the acceleration capacity to quickly accumulate yards through tight windows.

On top of his explosiveness, Gibbs possesses phenomenal, effortless short-area athleticism, which he can use to tug defenders off-balance. Gibbs is a high-energy mover with elite twitch who quickly recollects his feet after cuts. His twitch affords him awe-inspiring potential energy on each play.

Furthermore, Gibbs brings loose hips, which allow him to divert course while maintaining acceleration. Gibbs can use his high-level twitch and agility to flow through congested areas and sneak into the open field.

Just as impressive as Gibbs’ short-area athleticism is how he employs and maximizes it with his vision and creative instincts. Gibbs keeps active feet in congested areas and can slip through contact, staying upright. With his hyperactive feet, the Alabama RB can step through successive arm tackles, maintaining balance and speed. He’ll make defenders pay for subpar tackle attempts.

Going further, Gibbs flashes great reading ability. He can quickly identify holes when tracking to the sideline and burst upfield with decisiveness. The Alabama RB can also process angles quickly in space. He can sense lanes closing swiftly and promptly divert to outlets.

Gibbs processes well in tight spaces and can easily identify secondary lanes. He has excellent full-field vision, as well as superb spatial awareness. That awareness is constantly active, allowing him to feel defenders and react in real time.

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Gibbs is an extremely instinctive runner. More than that, he displays situational awareness and discipline. He rarely dances around behind the line of scrimmage in short-yardage situations. And on outside-zone runs, he has the instincts to flatten his angle to pass incoming A- and B-gap defenders, then surge upfield when he’s clear.

He consistently leads runs with a split-step to prepare for potential moves, has excellent timing with his lateral cuts, and is patient in deconstructing angles.

Gibbs naturally throttles up and down to maximize the space he has, as well as create new windows to exploit. The Alabama RB actively presses close behind blocks, forcing defenders to slow up. By doing so, he takes control of the space allotted and can manipulate angles thereafter.

At 5’9″, 199 pounds, Gibbs isn’t an overly imposing back, but he does at least bring measurable physicality to the fold. The Alabama RB has shown he can utilize stiff arms to push down imbalanced defenders and extend plays. He consistently fights to stay on his feet with active footwork and is willing to lower his shoulder and finish forward on runs. On occasion, Gibbs has also shown he can bounce off contact and absorb blows with his hips and torso.

Much of Gibb’s appeal rests in his multi-phase ability. The Alabama RB has high-level ability as a pass-catching RB. As young as he is, he already shows impressive nuance, as he can manipulate defender leverage when running routes. He can press outside and then cut back in, and his short-area agility is an asset at stems.

Gibbs can run routes and split out wide, but he can also use body control to adjust for high passes, catch with his hands extending beyond his frame, and then reset his feet for run-after-catch yards. Gibbs quickly shifts from receiving mode to RAC mode. He’s also shown he can corral passes in stride and haul in passes amidst contact.

As an athlete, Gibbs has more than enough speed to get to the edge on outside runs and turn the corner upfield. He also has the speed to accelerate along unideal angles and get a step on defenders. In pass protection, he has urgent active feet and brings solid effort. He can square up defenders and surge into contact, and he can also identify points of weakness in the protection and respond quickly.

Gibbs’ Areas for Improvement

Gibbs’ frame is noticeably lean, and he naturally isn’t going to withstand direct contact consistently. The Alabama RB isn’t an overwhelming physical specimen and visibly lacks a bruiser element. Moreover, while he has exceptional short-area explosiveness and speed, he doesn’t always play to his timed 4.36 40-yard dash and isn’t always a breakaway threat.

Operationally, Gibbs occasionally misses open cutback lanes, deferring to congested areas in the middle of the field. He sometimes goes on autopilot in short ranges and gets tunnel vision when things tighten up.

Additionally, Gibbs will sometimes play himself into congestion with wasted motion. His wasted motion shows up even when there are lanes to follow at times. The Alabama RB tries too hard to create space instead of using the space he has. He improved in 2022, but he can still be more concise and efficient.

In the passing phase, Gibbs sometimes loses track of the ball when streaking downfield. He can also more consistently attack the ball at the catch point, as he sometimes lets it come to him and invites contact. Gibbs also occasionally bobbles passes, which can delay transitions upfield on swings and screens. Furthermore, he experiences some lapses in ball security after the catch.

Gibbs’ need for added strength also shows up when pass blocking. The Alabama RB can be outmuscled and put on skates with his lighter frame, and he struggles to sustain blocks consistently.

Current Draft Projection for Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs

The positional value of running backs will always tip the scales of valuation when the draft comes around. But on my board, Gibbs is a top 25 prospect and one of two running backs in the top tier at the position — with the other being Texas’ Bijan Robinson. Gibbs is worth consideration in Round 1 and a priority player if he slips to Day 2.

At 5’9″, 199 pounds, Gibbs is somewhat undersized and won’t ever be an elite threat against contact. But he does have solid density for his size, and his game is ultimately predicated on his elite twitch, agility, supremely loose hips, flexibility on his cuts, and his ability to explode upfield after levying cuts with lightning-quick feet.

Gibbs’ short-area athleticism is rare. But it’s one thing to simply possess it — Gibbs knows how to use it. He can occasionally be more efficient behind the line, but he’s largely a no-nonsense runner who darts upfield and can navigate congested areas masterfully with his vision, processing, creative instincts, and elite lateral twitch and foot speed. He can maximize and create space all at once within reps.

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On top of his ability to catalyze on the ground, Gibbs is also an elite receiving threat at RB. His athleticism translates extremely well as a RAC threat — both when exploding through space and making defenders miss — but he can also run routes, operate from a multitude of alignments, and legitimately make plays on the ball when it’s in the air.

The NFL is a game of space now. Long gone are the days of ground-and-pound football. And in this game of space, Gibbs is built to win — both as a runner and a receiver. At his maximum, Gibbs can be an offensive weapon similar in caliber and style to Jamaal Charles. He has the same speed, burst, play pace, and two-phase ability. That skill set is assuredly worth early-round capital.