Jahmyr Gibbs brushes off criticism that Lions reached in draft
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Jahmyr Gibbs is a man of few words, so when he was asked if the Detroit Lions reached by getting him so early with the 12th overall pick, he brushed it off with a calm demeanor.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion,” Gibbs said Saturday during rookie minicamp. “I really don’t care.”
As a precautionary move, the Lions held Gibbs out of rookie minicamp after he tweaked his ankle Friday, but he still took the field to learn from the coaching staff and support his teammates.
“I’m straight,” Gibbs said of the minor injury.
“He had a little tweak, but no big issue, he’ll be fine,” Lions assistant general manager Ray Agnew said. “We’re just being safe with him.”
Shortly after being drafted, Gibbs said he was “surprised” by how high the Lions picked him, with running backs not being valued as highly in today’s era.
He’s also aware that he will likely be compared to running back Bijan Robinson, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 7, but Gibbs isn’t letting it get in his head. Robinson and Gibbs are the first pair of running backs to go among the top 12 picks since 2017, when Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette were selected in the top 12.
“Me and Bijan, we’re cool. We get along good. That’s my boy,” Gibbs said. “So every time I see him — you know we had the same coach in college — so all three of us have a great relationship.”
Gibbs is Detroit’s highest-drafted running back since 1989, when the Lions took Hall of Famer Barry Sanders with the No. 3 pick.
And when he was on the field for rookie minicamp — although he was “quiet,” according to tight end Sam LaPorta — Gibbs impressed his new teammates.
LaPorta says he “can’t wait to block for him and just watch what he can do with the ball in his hands.”
“He’s special, and I think we all have seen that,” Lions third-round pick Hendon Hooker said. “One of those guys that’s going to come in and work. Not doing too much rah-rah, and I’m a huge fan of his game.
“I remember him making three defenders miss when we played [Alabama] at Tennessee this last year, so I’m continuing to build my relationship with him off the field as well and looking forward to the future.”