Apr 28, 2023 - Sports

Lions trade down, invest more capital into running backs

The video screen at Ford Field in Detroit shows that the Lions drafted Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs.

Fans at the Lions draft party at Ford Field were less than thrilled with the selection of Jahmyr Gibbs with pick No. 12 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Photo: Everett Cook/Axios

Lions fans are hoping Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs was worth the wait.

Driving the news: Originally armed with the No. 6 pick, Detroit moved down to No. 12 in a last-minute trade with the Arizona Cardinals that included the No. 34 pick in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • The Lions also had pick No. 18 and took Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell.

Why it matters: Detroit is finally a playoff contender. Nailing this draft is key to maintaining what has been rare upward momentum.

Quick take: Gibbs is known as an elusive runner with pass-catching skills. He's been compared to Saints RB Alvin Kamara.

Yes, but: Drafting a running back so high is a risk — productive rushers can be found in later rounds or free agency.

The intrigue: The front office may regret trading down if pass rushers Tyree Wilson (No. 7, Raiders) or Jalen Carter (No. 9, Eagles) turn into superstars.

State of play: Many predicted Detroit would take a defensive player with its top pick. But the draft-night trade turned everything upside down.

  • Gibbs was the second running back off the board after Texas' Bijan Robinson went to the Falcons at No. 8.
  • Fans will eternally compare Gibbs to Robinson, whom Detroit could've had at No. 6.

What they're saying: "I was just talking to my friends when the call hit me," Gibbs said to reporters after the draft, "and I was shocked."

Zoom out: Rounds 2-7 continue today and Saturday.

  • The Lions now have three second-round selections and could take a cornerback or tight end.

What's next: Next year's draft is here in Detroit.

💭 Everett's thought bubble: I was at the Lions' draft party at Ford Field and heard a TON of F-bombs after the Gibbs pick.

  • And it was concerning to realize that both of the team's first-round picks were also watching the event on TV.

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