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Five Things To Know About Redskins Running Back Antonio Gibson


The Washington Redskins just selected Antonio Gibson with the No. 66 overall pick. Here are five things to know about the former Memphis running back:

1. Gibson attended junior college before starring at Memphis.

A McDonough, Georgia, native, Gibson was a three-sport athlete at Eagle's Landing High School (football, basketball, track and field), and won the Henry County Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2015.

From there, he played two seasons at East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi. He did it all for the Warriors, compiling 1,120 total yards on 93 touches (12.0 average) and scoring 16-career offensive touchdowns.

Having excelled with the Warriors, Gibson made the jump to Division I by committing to Memphis. It took him a year to get fully acclimated, but Gibson eventually became a surefire NFL prospect with the Tigers.

2. Gibson is a "swiss army knife" offensively.

The new Redskins' coaching staff covets "positional flexibility," and Gibson certainly fits that description.

Gibson (6-foot, 228 pounds) primarily played wide receiver for Memphis this past season, making 38 catches for 735 yards and eight touchdowns. But in the middle of the season, he received some opportunities at running back and compiled 368 yards and four touchdowns. And if that's not enough, Gibson took some snaps at quarterback out of the wildcat formation.

This extreme versatility helped Gibson earn second-team All-American Athletic Conference and AAC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year.

"We're excited about this kid," Redskins Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith said of Gibson on Friday night. "He's a swiss army knife. Obviously was playing a little wide receiver and running back at Memphis, he's a return specialist, he's got good hands, he's 228 pounds, he ran fast, he plays fast. He's got physicality to him."

3. Gibson is one of the most explosive offensive playmakers in this draft class.

There are plenty of reasons USA Today NFL editor Doug Farrar deemed Gibson as "the most explosive player in the 2020 draft."

In 2019, Gibson averaged 11.2 yards per carry and broke 16 tackles on 33 rushing attempts. As a receiver, he averaged 19.3 yards per catch and broke 17 tackles on 38 receptions. That adds up to an unheard-of broken tackle rate of about 25%, which makes Pro Football Focus Lead Draft Analyst Mike Renner wonder just how effective Gibson can be at the next level.

Furthermore, Gibson scored 14 touchdowns on 77 career touches and averaged 11.7 yards per catch after reception in 2019, according to PFF. That's the most among draft-eligible players.

"The sample size is extremely limited and he needs a developmental runway,"'s Lance Zierlein wrote in his draft profile of Gibson. "But Gibson has exciting upside as a pro."

4. The Redskins anticipate Gibson to contribute on special teams right away.

In addition to being a do-it-all offensive threat, Gibson proved to be an excellent kick returner for the Tigers last season. He returned 23 kicks for 645 yards and a touchdown in 2019, making him one of 10 FBS players to average 28-plus yards per return. He can also be a gunner on punt return, head coach Ron Rivera noted after the selection Friday night.

"[Gibson] is an impressive young man, and he's an impressive football player," Rivera said. "He's a guy that we really feel like can come in and make an impact early on."

5. Gibson joins a crowded running backs room but offers a unique skillset.

At first, some might have wondered why the Redskins drafted Gibson. The Redskins had six running backs on the roster entering the draft. How is Gibson going to find his way onto the field?

But Gibson will be used creatively all over the field. He'll line up in the slot, in the backfield and maybe even out wide. The Redskins can put him on the field with other rushers such as Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice, and defenses will still have to honor Gibson wherever he's stationed, regardless of if he's getting the ball.

After hearing Rivera gush over Gibson's versatility, a reporter asked if Rivera thought Gibson was similar to Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, who recently became the highest-paid running back in NFL history. Rivera, who has coached McCaffrey for nearly his entire career, did not dispute the notion.

"That's fair. He's a little bit bigger than Christian, but he's got a skillset like Christian. He's shown some position flexibility playing in the slot, then he shows position flexibility playing in the backfield. Ran some wildcat with him behind the center taking direct snaps. 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."

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