Jahmyr Gibbs

David Montgomery Expected To Miss Time

The Lions could be without their leading rusher which would force them to turn the reins over to their rookie for a period if running back David Montgomery‘s comments today are accurate. After Montgomery was carted off the sideline to the locker room in today’s overtime loss to the Seahawks, he told the media that it may take him “a couple weeks” to heal, as reported by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Montgomery hobbled off the field with the help of the team’s training staff after sustaining a thigh bruise in the second half of today’s game. He eventually had to be taken to the locker room on a cart for further inspection.

Thigh bruises can be tricky for running backs but typically will only cost a rusher a week or so. Last year saw Cowboys running back Tony Pollard miss a game late in the season on a short week due to a thigh bruise. There’s a chance that Montgomery’s comments could mean that he can still play but that he will still be hampered by the injury for a couple more weeks. Based on the level of discomfort displayed by Montgomery today, though, he may be hampered quite a bit for a week or more.

If Montgomery isn’t able to play through the injury, Detroit will obviously turn to the first-round rookie out of Alabama, Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs has so far been outgained by Montgomery 141 rushing yards to 59 on 14 carries to the veteran’s 37. Gibbs has had a much larger role in the passing game, though, with nine catches for 57 yards on 11 targets versus Montgomery, who has caught his only target for a seven-yard catch.

Montgomery has been heavily favored in terms of use early in the year, and many in Detroit have been excited and eager to see what Gibbs can offer in a larger role. This may be the door that cracks open, allowing Gibbs to take the reins of the offense and not let go. Montgomery has been a lead back throughout his NFL career in Chicago, never recording fewer than 200 carries in a season, but if Gibbs can shine in relief of Montgomery, we could see the veteran take a backseat for the first time in his career.

Any absence by Montgomery will also mean a few more opportunities for third-stringer Craig Reynolds, who received his first three carries of the season today after Montgomery’s departure. Even if Montgomery’s return sees him coming back in a backup role, the Lions will be hoping to see him back soon to help keep the legs of their rookie rusher fresh.

Lions Notes: LBs, Gibbs, Branch

The Lions had two picks in the first round of the 2023 draft, and they used both of them on non-premium positions. Detroit selected running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the No. 12 overall pick and added inside linebacker Jack Campbell with the No. 18 selection.

As the first off-ball ‘backer taken in the draft, it was fair to expect that Campbell would immediately be inserted into the starting lineup alongside veteran Alex Anzalone, who signed a three-year, $18.75MM deal in March to remain with the Lions. However, it became clear that such an assumption was a bit premature. 2021 fourth-rounder Derrick Barnes impressed during OTAs, while Campbell acknowledged that he was perhaps trying to do too much in his first taste of the pros (via Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website).

“I came in and I felt like maybe I was pressing a little bit early on,” Campbell said yesterday. “But right now, I’m just trying to settle down. My personality type I like to make sure everything is perfect. I just need to understand that mistakes are going to happen and as long as I’m playing fast everything is going to work out.”

While Barnes has earned the starting job next to Anzalone, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn made it clear that the team’s top four LBs — a group that also includes 2022 sixth-rounder Malcolm Rodriguez — will see plenty of action. Campbell showed off his tackling ability in Detroit’s preseason slate, and given the club’s investment in him, it is certainly possible that his snap share will increase as the regular season unfolds.

Gibbs, meanwhile, split first-team training camp reps with free agent acquisition and former division rival David Montgomery and will start the year as the pass-catching complement to Montgomery (he will likely get his fair share of carries as well). Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson told reporters, including Twentyman, that, “we might use Gibbs in some ways that people don’t quite think we might,” though it’s unclear exactly what that means. Most are already expecting Gibbs to line up as a receiver, but perhaps he could line up as a quarterback in the Wildcat formation (or maybe, with the season set to kick off on Thursday against the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, Johnson is simply engaging in a little misdirection).

Another rookie, Brian Branch, has secured the starting nickel corner job, per Twentyman. The second-round pick out of Alabama began taking first-team reps at the position after C.J. Gardner-Johnson suffered a knee injury early in training camp, and he immediately impressed. GM Brad Holmes, who engineered a trade-up to land Branch, said that the team had a first-round grade on the defensive back.

“He fits who we are, so you don’t know exactly how quick it’s going to turn on, but we’re not surprised that he’s making the plays because he’s doing, really a lot of the same things that he did at Alabama,” Holmes said.

Branch’s emergence will presumably allow the team to move Gardner-Johnson to safety, where he thrived with the Eagles in 2022.

Dan Campbell Addresses Lions’ RB Tandem

The Lions used both of their first-round picks in the 2023 draft on positions deemed less valuable than others in recent years. That included the selection of running back Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall, something which led to expectations of immediate playing time.

The Alabama product was in consideration for the Lions at their original No. 6 position, illustrating how high the team was on him. Gibbs’ draft stock surged as a result of his pass-catching abilities, and that skillset should see him on the field plenty as a rookie. With free agent signing David Montgomery in place as well, however, a division of labor is likely in the backfield this season.

The latter inked a three-year, $18MM deal to head to Detroit after four years in Chicago. That represented one of the most lucrative commitments made at the running back position this offseason, and gave the Lions an effective Jamaal Williams replacement. Having both Montgomery and Gibbs in the fold allowed Detroit to move on from former second-rounder D’Andre Swift, who had expressed frustration with his usage and faced an uncertain future in the Motor City beyond 2023.

In the early part of training camp, Montgomery and Gibbs split first-team reps, as detailed by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The former received between 201 and 247 carries in each of his Bears campaign, operating as the focal point of the team’s offense on the ground. With Gibbs, by contrast, set to contribute through the air, especially early in his career, a clear usage plan is in place for head coach Dan Campbell.

“Man, I think you need a back that, push comes to shove, he can carry a load,” Campbell said when asked about his new RB tandem (Twitter link via Sirius XM Radio). “Somebody you feel like you can give the ball to 20, 25 times a game, potentially. And then you need that specialty guy. He’s much more – he carries the scalpel and he can slice you up. He can hurt you in the pass game, potentially. I’m talking about Gibbs obviously. Get him out there and do a few more things, because that’s kind of what I know.”

Campbell named the highly-productive former Saints tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara as a blueprint for the Lions to follow with Montgomery and Gibbs. Even with quarterback Jared Goff having impressed in Detroit last season, the backfield will no doubt play a central role in the team’s offensive success in 2023 and thus their ability to meet expectations. A two-pronged approach at the RB spot will prove to be effective if both Montgomery and Gibbs fit their respective billings.

Lions Sign RB Jahmyr Gibbs To Rookie Deal

Although Monday afternoon’s news paints an ugly picture of the present running back position, two teams used top-12 picks on backs in April. The second of those, Jahmyr Gibbs, is now signed.

Shortly after Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard did not come to terms on extensions, tying them to franchise tag salaries this year, the Lions announced they signed Gibbs to his four-year rookie contract. Gibbs does not have to worry about future negotiations at this point, even as his position’s value plunged off another cliff this offseason. The rookie Lions back is signed through 2026, with a fifth-year option that could push the deal through 2027. His contract is fully guaranteed.

The Lions view Gibbs as a weapon capable of making impactful contributions as a runner and receiver. The Alabama product combined for 904 receiving yards from 2021-22, with this skill rocketing him up the draft board. While it seemed Bijan Robinson would be drafted well before any other back, late buzz during the pre-draft cycle pointed to Gibbs joining the Texas phenom in the first round. Not only did Gibbs do so, he heard his name called 12th overall in Kansas City.

Position-based criticism came the Lions’ way for how they proceeded in Round 1, which ended with Detroit selecting Gibbs and off-ball linebacker Jack Campbell. GM Brad Holmes remarked he probably could have nabbed the Iowa linebacker later had he traded down, but the Lions were prepared to grab Gibbs earlier than they did. The Lions were close to selecting Gibbs sixth overall — over Robinson — before the Cardinals offered them a trade to move back to No. 12.

Two days after drafting Gibbs, the Lions traded their dual-threat incumbent — 2020 second-rounder D’Andre Swift — to the Eagles. That deal included a seventh-round pick swap and a 2025 fourth-rounder coming Detroit’s way. Swift was a Bob Quinn-era investment; this offseason brought two notable Holmes pickups at the position. In addition to the Lions taking Gibbs at 12, they gave ex-Bears starter David Montgomery a three-year, $18MM deal ($8.75MM guaranteed).

After this Gibbs agreement, the Lions have just one unsigned draftee — second-rounder Brian Branch. Chosen 45th overall, Branch is part of a glut of unsigned Round 2 picks. Guaranteed money stands as the main issue keeping a batch of second-rounders unsigned.

Lions Rumors: Gambling, Joseph, Gibbs

After the Lions were hit with multiple suspensions in April for player gambling violations and the announcement that the NFL was still investigating for further violations, Detroit has decided to take matters into its own hands, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive. The Lions are working to provide their players with a self-imposed supplemental education into the league’s policies on gambling.

The team’s violations led to the release of the players involved, except for former first-round pick Jameson Williams, who received a six-game suspension for making bets on non-NFL games while at the Lions’ facility. With so much damage done, head coach Dan Campbell gave some words on the team’s decision to implement further instruction.

“It’s much more an emphasis from us, as opposed to just leaving it to the league,” Campbell said. “Like, we need to make sure that we really hit this ourselves and make a point of it. We did, but obviously not enough. The proof’s in the pudding. So, for us, let’s take it out of their hands. They will have what they do every year, but now we need to put our own emphasis on it. And I think that is the best way to do it, is to highlight it.”

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the Motor City:

Lions Eyed CB Devon Witherspoon; Team Considered Taking Jahmyr Gibbs At No. 6

Decisions to use No. 12 and No. 18 overall picks on a running back (Jahmyr Gibbs) and an off-ball linebacker (Jack Campbell) brought some scrutiny for the Lions. Another organizational plan would have generated more attention during Round 1.

The Lions were prepared to pounce on Devon Witherspoon if the Seahawks went in another direction, with Albert Breer of SI.com indicating the Lions regarded the Illinois cornerback as a clean prospect. But the Seahawks deviated from their past at the corner position and chose Witherspoon at No. 5, leaving the Lions in a bind.

That predicament stemmed from the team placing a much higher-than-expected value on Gibbs. After the Seahawks drafted Witherspoon, GM Brad Holmes spoke with Dan Campbell about pivoting to Gibbs at 6. While Breer adds the Lions’ initial plan was not to draft the Alabama dual threat that high, they were prepared to do so until the Cardinals called about their trade offer to secure Paris Johnson. That move to No. 12 allowed the Lions to pick up draft capital, avoiding a wildly unexpected scenario in which Gibbs went off the board before Bijan Robinson.

Teams’ interest in Gibbs became known during draft week, when reports circulated about some clubs rating former Crimson Tide contributor in the same realm as Robinson. Gibbs topped 440 receiving yards in each of the past two years, and the Lions are prepared to use thee rookie as a multipurpose back to complement David Montgomery. Holmes has acknowledged the positional value-based criticism that has come with selecting a running back 12th overall, and the Lions had the option of drafting Jalen Carter or Tyree Wilson at No. 6. Taking Gibbs over those two pass rushers would have doubled as one of the more fascinating moves in recent draft history, but the Lions added No. 34 and No. 168 to move down six spots.

Detroit did not bring Witherspoon in for a visit, and neither Campbell nor Holmes trekked to Champaign for his pro day. The Seahawks had never drafted a corner higher than 90th (Shaquill Griffin) under the John SchneiderPete Carroll regime, but Witherspoon will team with Tariq Woolen in Seattle. Witherspoon remaining on the board at 5 helped the Seahawks resist a trade-down urge. The Lions have made a few significant additions to their secondary this offseason, signing Cameron Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley. After the Seahawks chose Witherspoon, the Lions added Alabama DB Brian Branch in Round 2.

The team initially wanted to draft either Witherspoon or Will Anderson Jr. at No. 6, per Breer, and trade up from No. 18 for Gibbs. Trading out of No. 6 obviously reflected Lions hesitancy regarding Carter and the team placing a value gap between Anderson and Wilson. The Lions moving to 12 also kept them in front of two teams they heard were Gibbs fans — the Patriots (No. 14) and Jets (No. 15). A scouting trip to last season’s Alabama-Texas game alerted Holmes to Gibbs, and he will replace D’Andre Swift in the Motor City.

The Gibbs pick prompted the Eagles to act quickly. They swapped seventh-round picks with the Lions sent the NFC North franchise a 2025 fourth for Swift, who joins Rashaad Penny as Philly offseason backfield additions. Holmes and Eagles GM Howie Roseman discussed the Swift trade for “a few days.”

It’s my job to keep laser-focused on the present but probably even more importantly, keep laser-focused on the future,” Holmes said, via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. “And that’s what went into a lot of the decisions with having to make the trade with D’Andre Swift to Philly. He was in the last year of his contract and if I go back to last year, I felt really good about us being able to bring back Jamaal Williams. I felt confident as the season ended. I felt good with our conversations with his camp, and it didn’t happen. So you have to just be prepared for all those things.

Williams did not speak highly of the Lions’ offer; last season’s rushing touchdowns leader is now with the Saints on a three-year, $12MM deal. Montgomery signed a three-year, $18MM pact with the Lions. He and Gibbs now comprise Detroit’s backfield, with the latter on a first-round contract that could have checked in at a higher draft slot.

Draft Notes: Young, Chiefs, Saints, Addison, Vikings, Patriots, Campbell, Lions

Panthers brass joined other front offices in being wowed by Bryce Young during his 2021 Heisman-winning season, and the team had mostly decided on the Alabama prospect by the time Frank Reich arrived. David Tepper and Panthers scouts had zeroed in on Young — prior to making the trade with the Bears — and Reich learned of the staff’s preference early during his tenure.

And it was unanimous with every guy in that room, starting from [GM] Scott [Fitterer] on down, that Bryce was the guy. That was great for me to hear,” Reich said of an early-February meeting, via The Athletic’s Joe Person (subscription required). “But what I appreciate about the way Scott handled it, he was like, ‘Frank, you take your time.’ … And it wasn’t much convincing.”

Fitterer said he sought Reich’s final stance late in the process. It would have been interesting had Reich, who was initially mentioned as preferring a taller passer, stood his ground for another prospect. He was believed to also be intrigued by Anthony Richardson. But the veteran HC will be coaching a 5-foot-10 quarterback in Carolina.

Here is the latest from the draft, as we head into Day 2:

  • The Vikings closed the record-breaking run on wide receivers at No. 23, selecting Jordan Addison, the fourth straight receiver taken from Nos. 20-23. But Minnesota received interest in the pick. The Chiefs and Saints contacted the Vikings about moving up to 23, per KTSP’s Darren Wolfson, who adds the belief is at least one of the teams eyeing a trade-up would have taken the USC wide receiver (Twitter link). The Vikings appear to have received an offer, but they instead chose Addison. The Chiefs were mentioned as a team pursuing a move up the board, and the defending Super Bowl champions — after J.J. Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman‘s exits — had done a lot of work on this year’s wideout class. The Saints have not re-signed Jarvis Landry and have not seen much of a healthy Michael Thomas since the 2010s. Both teams will probably be on the hunt for receivers tonight.
  • It is not surprising to see Patriots first-round trade-downs, and the team allowing the Steelers to leapfrog the Jets for tackle Broderick Jones likely made the move doubly intriguing for Bill Belichick. But the Pats turned in their draft card quickly at No. 17, selecting cornerback Christian Gonzalez. New England was high enough on the Oregon product it was close to finalizing a trade-up move from No. 14, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. The Commanders had been in on corners, but they chose Mississippi State ballhawk Emmanuel Forbes over Gonzalez at No. 16.
  • While the Patriots have been praised for nabbing a high-end prospect a bit later than he was expected to go, the Lions bucked pre-draft rankings by taking a running back (Jahmyr Gibbs) at No. 12 and an off-ball linebacker (Jack Campbell) at 18. Campbell, in particular, was not viewed as especially likely to be a first-round pick, and GM Brad Holmes admitted he probably could have nabbed the Iowa defender if he had traded down once again. “It’s not about just don’t pick a running back [in Round 1] because that’s not how we really view [Gibbs],” Holmes said, via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. “And then it’s the same thing about don’t pick an off-ball linebacker. That’s not really how we view Jack. If you put them in boxes and you put on a sheet of paper and you run mock draft analytics, yeah, you can come up with those stats. But all the hours and research and all the time that we put in, in terms of looking at these players, it becomes very, very visible that what kind of impact they can bring.”

Lions Select Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs At No. 12

Jahmyr Gibbs saw his draft stock rise in recent weeks, and that culminated in him being selected with the No. 12 pick. The Lions have used their selection on the Alabama running back.

After transferring from Georgia Tech, Gibbs put together a 1,370-yard, 10-touchdown season with the Crimson Tide. Almost a third of his total yards came in the receiving game, leading scouts to assume that he’ll serve in a Swiss Army Knife-type role in the NFL.

We’ve haven’t seen a single running back selected in the top 20 since 2018, and now Gibbs joins Bijan Robinson as the second prospect at the position to be selected in the top 12 tonight. While there have been some concerns regarding Gibbs’ 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame, he’ll now be a foundational piece on Detroit’s offense.

Gibbs was seen almost universally as the second-best back in the 2023 class, but recent reports indicated some NFL teams may have had him ranked higher than Robinson. In any case, it was assumed by the time tonight’s draft started that he would be a first-round lock. Most of the teams connected to Gibbs were slated to pick toward the end of the round, and in Detroit he will join a crowded backfield. Gibbs’ receiving chops were believed to have moved him, according to some teams, closer to Robinson. That pre-draft assessment of the backs’ draft stock turned out to be accurate.

The Lions have 2020 second-rounder D’Andre Swift in the fold, though he has struggled with injuries and generally failed to live up to expectations. Detroit inked David Montgomery on one of the most lucrative running back deals of free agency, a move which presumably set him up for the lead role. Gibbs should be able to establish himself as a pass catcher early on, though. His addition could lead to increased questions regarding Swift’s future in the Motor City, but in any event, the Lions’ rushing attack should be well-positioned for years to come.

Bengals, Bills Eyeing RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Jahmyr Gibbs continues to generate first-round buzz, and it sounds like a pair of AFC contenders have their eye on the Alabama product. According to Albert Breer of SI.com, both the Bills and Bengals have been tied to the running back.

Gibbs has continued to climb up draft boards in recent weeks following a productive season at Alabama. After transferring from Georgia Tech, Gibbs put together a 1,370-yards, 10-touchdown season with the Crimson Tide. Almost a third of his total yards came in the receiving game, leading scouts to assume that he’ll serve in a Swiss Army Knife-type role in the NFL.

While there have been some concerns regarding his 5-11, 200-pound frame, Gibbs has emerged as the draft’s clear No. 2 RB behind Texas prospect Bijan Robinson. ESPN’s Todd McShay recently wrote that Gibbs has received continued attention around the NFL from evaluators, and it’s gotten to the point where he is expected to be drafted in the first round.

The valuation of running backs has made it difficult to project the range for high-end prospects at the position. However, McShay noted that some teams have little in the way of a gap in ranking between Gibbs and Robinson, and both players are expected to hear their names called later tonight.

Buffalo (No. 27) would be a natural landing spot for Gibbs considering their uncertain depth chart, while Cincinnati (No. 28) would have to get creative with his usage considering the presence of Joe Mixon. Of course, they’re not the only teams with their eye on the player. Breer reiterates previously reported interest from the Giants and Chiefs, and the Dolphins have also been mentioned as a suitor.

Draft Rumors: Carter, Wilson, Bills, Dolphins

Jalen Carter visited all six teams holding a pick between Nos. 5 and 10. That sextet continues to be connected to the higher-risk prospect ahead of the draft. The Bears and Eagles are believed to be on board with the former Georgia dynamo, but the Seahawks (No. 5) and Falcons (No. 8) — barring another team’s trade-up maneuver or Carter going in the top four — would have first dibs.

Seattle is believed to be split on Carter, per ProFootballNetwork.com’s Tony Pauline. Although a report earlier this week indicated Pete Carroll is ready to pull the trigger, the Seahawks are not certain to do so. The prospect of Carter playing in Atlanta, which is near Athens, has emerged as a Falcons red flag, per Pauline, who adds Carter having left the scene of the accident that killed two members of Georgia’s program has injected more doubt from teams. Carter reached a plea deal and will not serve any jail time in connection with the two misdemeanor charges he faced. While some teams are believed to have taken the top-flight talent off their draft boards, Carter said some of his visits did not include questioning about the January night in which he was at the scene of the aforementioned fatal car accident.

Here is the latest from the draft:

  • One of the few players who may be drafted ahead of Carter, Tyree Wilson has generated some concern regarding his injury past. The former Texas Tech edge rusher is coming off a Lisfranc fracture, and Pauline adds he underwent a second surgery this offseason. Some teams, including the Cardinals and Texans, have passed Wilson on a physical. Not all did, and Pauline adds teams have looked into the back trouble he experienced last season as well. Wilson remains on track to be a top-10 pick, but his health will be worth monitoring as he begins his NFL career.
  • Staying on the topic of edge defenders, Pauline adds the Bills have done some late work on Iowa State prospect Will McDonald. Scouts Inc.’s No. 25 overall prospect, McDonald may be in range for the Bills, who hold the No. 27 pick. The Bills have been calling coaches on Iowa State’s staff to gather more intel leading up to the draft. McDonald finished as the Cyclones’ all-time sack leader (34). The Bills have taken defensive ends in two of the past three first rounds, choosing Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham. Von Miller is also coming off an ACL tear and not a lock to be ready for Week 1. Buffalo’s pass rush also struggled without the future Hall of Famer last season.
  • Closely tied to this year’s top wide receivers, the Giants may have a receiver-cornerback hierarchy going into the draft. Mentioned as preferring Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers, the Giants could pivot to corner if both are off the board at No. 25. But a corner is likely the Giants’ Plan B in Round 1, per Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano (on Twitter). The Giants have Adoree’ Jackson going into a contract year, and the team is unlikely to extend him before next year, and Aaron Robinson is coming off a season-ending injury. Big Blue did sign ex-Lion Amani Oruwariye to a low-cost deal, but this is one of the team’s neediest areas. The Giants are fans of Michigan corner DJ Turner, per Pauline, but he would not appear to represent Round 1 value. Scouts Inc. grades Turner 56th overall.
  • The Dolphins have looked into Dalvin Cook and may still be in the mix for a player not certain to be with the Vikings much longer, but the team is in on this rookie running back crop. The Dolphins have spent a lot of time with Texas A&M’s Devon Achane — he of a 4.32-second 40-yard dash — over the past two weeks, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The Dolphins do not have a pick until No. 51; Scouts Inc. grades Achane 78th overall and fifth among this class’ backs. The consensus second-best back in the draft — Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs — also interests the Dolphins, per NBC Sports’ Peter King, but a major trade-up would likely be necessary for Gibbs.