The New England Patriots are reportedly interested in adding a “blue-chip” running back via the NFL Draft later this month. The top option — Texas’ Bijan Robinson — would be a surprise investment, but the team might very well be willing to bring this year’s RB2 in on Day 2: Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs.
The Patriots and Gibbs look like a natural fit, an opinion shared by ESPN draft analyst Matt Bowen. In fact, he sees the Patriots as the best possible fit for the running back:
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2 (No. 46 overall)
Why he fits: The Patriots have depth in the running back room with Rhamondre Stevenson, James Robinson and 2022 fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr. Even so, I like Gibbs here because he has a dynamic skill set that would add a playmaking element which is currently missing at the position in New England. With his 4.36 speed and formation flexibility to upgrade the pass game for new coordinator Bill O’Brien, I see Gibbs as an offensive asset for the Patriots. He can pick up big chunks on perimeter run schemes or backfield releases to give quarterback Mac Jones leveled reads.
Plus, I’d love to see Gibbs flexed outside to run unders and screens for the Pats after he caught 44 passes at Alabama in 2022. He has home-run juice, too, breaking free for 25 rushes for 10 or more yards last season. The Patriots need a jolt of speed on this side of the ball.
Playing under new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien at Alabama last year, Gibbs led the Crimson Tide in rushing yards, receptions, and receiving yards. While the running back position appears to be relatively low on the list of current needs, New England never can be counted out to make a surprise selection.
Based on his position, Gibbs would be just that. Based on what he can bring to the team’s offense as a well-rounded back, however, he very much would not be.