Gibson could eventually fill the role the Washington Football Team had in mind for Derrius Guice, who was released last week, John Keim of ESPN.com reports.
With 4.39 speed in a 228-pound frame, Gibson certainly looks the part of an NFL lead back, but he essentially played just one season at Memphis, where he took most of his snaps as a wide receiver. While coach Ron Rivera made it clear he views the rookie as a running back first and foremost, the team has Gibson sitting in on meetings with both position groups. Even with Guice out of the picture, Gibson's initial role likely will entail some combination of passing-down backfield work, gadget plays and kick returns, rather than regular playing time as a ballcarrier. There should be room for growth throughout the season, as there's no clear dominant force in a Washington backfield that otherwise consists of Adrian Peterson, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber and Bryce Love (knee). The rookie third-round pick is the only one of the bunch with potential to combine power, speed and receiving ability. His transition to the NFL may be tricky, but Gibson's long-term ceiling is tantalizing.
Gibson has been sitting in on running back meetings, but he's also doing technical work as a wide receiver, Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic reports.
Coach Ron Rivera said the rookie third-round pick will first be evaluated as a running back, in addition to potentially handling return work on special teams. However, the Washington Football Team has a greater need for talent at wide receiver, especially after Kelvin Harmon tore an ACL over the summer. It's also possible Gibson get his own unique role, as opposed to being a fill-in option at multiple positions. Running backs coach Randy Jordan mentioned Gibson learning the "F" receiver spot, which essentially would be the slot role in offensive coordinator Scott Turner's scheme, per Mark Bullock of The Athletic. Steven Sims and Trey Quinn are the other candidates for slot work, while the backfield contains Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, J.D. McKissic, Bryce Love and Peyton Barber.
Gibson is expected to be utilized primarily as running back for the Redskins in 2020, ESPN's John Keim reports.
This comes directly from coach Ron Rivera. From a fantasy perspective, Gibson's positional classification could be a major sticking point among different platforms. The 6-foot, 228-pounder's versatility is something to monitor regardless, particularly when Rivera suggests the team's 2020 third-round pick "has a skill set like Christian (McCaffrey)." A wide receiver-only designation for Gibson would likely hamper his fantasy utility, save for deeper leagues. Should he qualify as a running back, however, it doesn't take much imagination to project similar production to that of current free agent Chris Thompson, who piled up 206 receptions and 1,745 receiving yards across five seasons with Washington.
The Redskins selected Gibson in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, 66th overall.
Gibson is yet another versatile offensive weapon emanating from Memphis. He had explosive production in 2019, catching 38 of 56 targets for 735 yards, good for 19.3 yards per reception. He also took 33 carries for 369 yards and four scores. The Tony Pollard comparison is obvious given the same background, but Gibson is more athletic with a denser frame. Gibson is 6-foot and 228 pounds, and he runs a 4.39-second 40-yard dash. He should push for a starting role in three-wide sets right away in Washington and the Redskins can get creative with how they choose to deploy him.