When it comes to the 2020 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys can use more depth at just about every position. That’s why today I wanted to shine the light on a player who can play a variety of roles and add more depth at several positions.
Enter Antonio Gibson.
Like Tony Pollard before him, Antonio Gibson was used in a variety of ways during his time at Memphis. He was split out wide as receiver, took handouts out of the backfield, and was used in the return game as well. That kind of versatility is something the Dallas Cowboys could use more of on their roster.
Unfortunately, Gibson is basically a one-year wonder. He was primarily used as a depth piece until this past season, but once he received the opportunity he proved he can be a dynamic playmaker anytime he touches the ball.
In his final season he was listed as a wide receiver and collected 38 catches for 735 yards, averaging 19.3 yards per catch, and scored eight touchdowns. He also accumulated 33 carries for 369 rushing yards, an average of 11.2 yards per carry, and four touchdowns.That’s not even mentioning he averaged 28 yards per kick return in his breakout season.
I don’t know about you, but that kind of versatility and explosiveness is definitely something the Dallas Cowboys could use more of. But don’t take my word for it, let’s take a closer look at exactly what Antonio Gibson brings to the table.
2020 NFL Combine Weigh-in & Results
Measurements – HT: 6’0″ | WT: 228 | Arms: 31 1/8″ | Hands: 8 5/8″
Combine Results – 40 yrd dash: 4.39 | BP: 16 | VJ: 35″ | BJ: 118″
Gibson going Beast Mode:
Many draft analysts believe Antonio Gibson’s best position in the NFL is as a running back. He certainly looks the part and is built more like a running back then wide receiver, but I don’t think there is any way of knowing for sure if he’s a better RB than WR right now. Having said that though, he did put together quite a few flash plays toting the rock last year at Memphis like in the play below.
In the clip above you see Antonio Gibson doing his best Marshawn Lynch “Beast Mode” impression. In this one play you see all of reasons why many of the draft analysts believe he will be a better RB in the NFL than a WR. You can clearly see his strength, power, agility, vision, and breakaway speed as he leaves the SMU defenders in the dust on his way to the end zone. The only question is, can he do it on a full-time basis in the NFL?
Gibson’s Pass Catching Ability:
Now that you’ve seen a glimpse of the type of RB Antonio Gibson could be at the next level, let’s take a look at what he can do as a receiver. I could be wrong, but I think many people are underrating his ability to catch the ball.
I understand the swing pass is pretty much just an extension of the running game, but what Antonio Gibson is able to do in the play above is pretty impressive if I do say so myself.
By all accounts, this is a play that should’ve been stopped at the line of scrimmage. The QB didn’t throw the most accurate of passes, which stopped Gibson from carrying his momentum through the reception. Instead he had to adjust to the low pass, thus allowing defenders time to gain an extra split second or two to make a play on the ball.
To Gibson’s credit though, he once again showed how dangerous he can be with the ball in his hands. He showed his power when breaking tackles, his elusiveness to dodge defenders, and his willingness to fight for extra yardage. This is a play many players, RBs and WRs alike, would’ve given up on.
The clip above is one of my favorite receptions I observed from Antonio Gibson in the passing game. He has more flashy plays as a receiver, but this one stood out to me the most because of how he was able to set up the defender. His ability to sell a route doesn’t get the kind of recognition it deserves in my opinion
Lined up in the slot you see Gibson explode off the line of scrimmage with his pads down over his knees, immediately selling a deep route to the defender. The way he does it perfectly sets up the curl route. It’s hard to notice at full speed, but Gibson subtly releases to the inside just a little as if he’s going to run up the seem but then turns his head/body the opposite direction as if he’s running a corner route. This causes the CB to open up and that’s when Gibson breaks off his route for the curl.
To me, this play proves he’s worked on his route running and has a good understanding of how to set up defenders with even the most subtle moves. With a little more refinement, I think he could develop into a really good wide receiver for whatever team he ends up playing for in the NFL.
Gibson’s Special Teams Ability:
By now you know what Antonio Gibson can do with the ball in his hands as a RB or WR, but let me show you what he can do as a return man on special teams…
As a kick returner, Antonio Gibson’s speed, vision, balance, and power make him a dangerous weapon in the return game. Special teams over the years seem to be overlooked under the previous Jason Garrett coaching regime, but that will no longer be the case with John Fassel running the show. He is considered to be one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL for a reason and would probably love to have a return man like Gibson at his disposal.