Antonio Gibson Roster Profile
Antonio Gibson was drafted by the Washington Redskins with the second pick in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Gibson, played his college football at Memphis, where he contributed for two years after transferring from East Central Community College.
In this series we will examine:
- Gibson’s prospect profile from our Head of College and NFL Draft Content Simon Carroll
- his productivity in college
- his potential opportunities in the NFL in the upcoming season
PRO’S: Multi-faceted offensive weapon that played mostly receiver at Memphis but also lined up in the backfield and was a dangerous kick returner too. Was designated as a running back at The Senior Bowl and is likely how NFL teams will consider him. Stunning lean and powerful physique that brings an explosion from the line of scrimmage bordering on intimidating. Excellent vision lets him diagnose the right areas to attack with the ball in his hands or on option routes. Shows good anticipation and timing, letting plays develop before he turns on the jets. Extremely hard man to bring to the ground. Once he’s rolling, he’s not going to be stopped. Natural hands as you’d expect for a receiver.
CON’S: Raw, and hasn’t really found his home on a football field yet. Will need to be in a situation that can maximise his explosiveness. Needs to lower his pad level as a running back – he’s a big man and plays like one from the backfield. Pass protection and blocking isn’t half as good as you’d expect for a man with his size and length. Long speed isn’t matched by short-area quickness and he relies on his catch radius to win contested balls. Route running is unpolished. Inconsistency in performance from game to game. College football afforded him a lot of the ball in plenty of space and his stats may be inflated as a result.
SIMON CARROLL: “The pre-draft process is going to be huge for Antonio Gibson as he is somewhat of an unknown commodity. NFL teams will be intrigued by the athleticism and measurables, and he could prove to be a game changer if he lands on a roster with a creative play caller. Turn on the SMU tape and you’ll see just how special he can be. Imagine what someone like Sean Payton could do with this guy”.
NFL COMPARISON: TONY POLLARD
Opportunities at the next level
Gibson has entered the NFL somewhat under the radar in terms of his potential. Designated as a wide receiver in college, he was considered a running back as part of the 2020 NFL Draft process. His selection by the Redskins is fascinating for a number of reasons.
If we start by considering the running back position, it is clear there is a lot of talent on this roster. Adrian Peterson continues to burst out incredible runs, even at age 34. Then we have the two relative unknowns of Derrius Guice and Bryce Love. Both came into the NFL with impressive college numbers. However, both missed their rookie seasons due to ACL injuries, and Guice managed just five games in his second year before another knee injury prevented him taking any further part.
The back end of the depth chart has names such as Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic. McKissic is a more traditional passing back and therefore, could be Gibson’s main rival for playing time if the team intend to use him as a passing back. That would seem the logical role for Gibson, given the Redskins move don from their previous passing-work back in Chris Thompson this past offseason.
However, Gibson can also be considered alongside a very weak wide receiver depth chart. 2019 draft picks Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon are the current front runners to start outside, with Trey Quinn and fellow 2020 draftee Antonio Gandy-Golden also expected to see playing time.
Beyond those four, the receiving depth chart is lacking obvious names to receive significant snaps. Gibson could have a nice role as a slot receiver, who can motion into the backfield and provide some interesting looks for the Redskins. If the Redskins utilise Gibson correctly, then he could quickly become a valuable gadget piece for this team and best friend of quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The obvious comparison here is the way in which the Los Angeles Chargers use Austin Ekeler as a player they get in space often to devastating effect. The ceiling for Gibson is sky high and he is a player that has the potential to provide plenty of excitement on the field.