The 2023 draft was an eventful one for the Detroit Lions. After a controversial first round, it’s easy for fans to feel blindsided by the selection of running back Jahmyr Gibbs at number 12 overall. However, thanks to some moves made by the Lions in the previous draft, there’s more clarity as to why the Lions wanted Gibbs so bad and how he may be used in Detroit. And it all centers around a trade that fell through.
The 2022 draft was one centered around a lot of excitement in the city of Detroit. Selecting hometown favorite Aidan Hutchinson at 2nd overall was an exciting move. Trading up to 12th overall to get Jameson Williams was an unexpected yet promising move by the Lions as well. Yet through all of the fuss, we kind of forget what events led to the Lions trading up for Jameson in the first place. With contract disputes going on, the Lions explored a trade for 49ers weapon Deebo Samuel before the trade fell through, leading to them taking the trade to get Williams.
Keep in mind that I describe Samuel as a weapon for San Francisco, because he is not exclusively a wide receiver. He lined up at running back, returner, inside, outside, practically anywhere that Shannahan could put him. Looking at it with this context, the Lions trading for Williams wasn’t a settlement for not getting Deebo, it was a completely separate move made until they could get their own Deebo-style weapon. Enter Jahmyr Gibbs.
Looking at Gibbs, he checks all the boxes of what the Lions were looking for while exploring a possible Samuel trade last year. An amazing athlete who has versatility enough to play many positions, great catching skills, and the bonus of being on a rookie deal. He really can be a weapon for Detroit the same way Samuel is for the 49ers. Oh and what did Brad Holmes say about Gibbs again? Quote from him: “We didn’t acquire a running back in the first round. We acquired an elite weapon to keep our offense explosive”. Looks like the Lions have big plans for Jahmyr Gibbs coming straight out the gate.