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After making a big splash in the first round by drafting Chase Young, the Washington Redskins used their only pick on day two of the NFL Draft just as wisely. This time they shifted their attention to offense with the selection of Memphis Tigers wide receiver and running back Antonio Gibson. Gibson was drafted no. 66 overall in the third round.
Gibson (6-0, 228 pounds) played two seasons at East Central Community College before transferring to the University of Memphis in 2018. He caught 44 passes for 834 yards and 10 touchdowns with the Tigers while averaging 19 yards per catch. He had 50 receptions for 871 yards at 13 touchdowns at East Central.
He is a dual threat that coach Rivera compared to Christian McCaffrey because of his versatility. Gibson has the ability to run, catch, play out the backfield or line up in the slot.
“He’s a little bit bigger than Christian, but he’s got a skill-set like Christian,” Rivera said. “He’s shown some position flexibility playing in the slot, then he shows position flexibility playing in the backfield. Ran some wildcat with him behind the center taking direct snaps. This is a very versatile, young football player that we really think is going to be a guy that can get on the field for us early and contribute.”
The Redskins entered the third round looking for the best available players to fill their needs which included wide receiver, left tackle and the tight end position. With an already talented wide receiver and running back corps, Gibson is another weapon to add to an arsenal that includes Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims, Jr., J.D. McKissic, Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice.
He’ll also fit perfectly in Scott Turner’s scheme, especially with his experience coaching McCaffrey. Gibson offers an interesting dynamic that can make for some very unique offensive plays.
“He’s a guy that, again, you can look for match-ups, you can create match-ups and you’re not necessarily always putting the ball in his hands,” according to coach Rivera. “They have to honor him wherever he’s aligned. It is going to open up things for his teammates, whether they be wide receivers, tight ends or other running backs. This is a guy that is really, as Kyle said, he’s a little bit of a swiss army knife. We’re kind of excited about what his impact can be for us.”
For Gibson, he doesn’t have a preference on whether he plays running back or wide receiver. He just wants to be a weapon and an explosive force on offense.
“I view myself as a weapon,” Gibson said. “I’ve been playing running back and receiver my whole life. But not just that, I’ve been playing all over the ball. It’s always been like that since a young age, and I feel like I can dominate wherever they put me. So, you know, if they’ve got somebody in the backfield, I feel like I can help out at receiver.”
“If they’ve got too many outside, I feel like I can hop back behind the center, behind the quarterback and gunner – wherever you need help out there,” he continued. “Also, I could make a big impact on special teams, so I feel like I can be a weapon wherever. Just being that gadget guy – wherever they need me, I’m willing to go.”
As a senior in 2019, Gibson was second on the team with 735 receiving yards and 38 receptions. His 19.3 average yards per catch led all Tigers with at least 10 receptions, while his eight receiving touchdowns were also second on the team.
Gibson also had 33 rushes for 369 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 11.2 yards per rush. He also had 647 return yards and a touchdown in two seasons at Memphis and 1,201 return yards in his college career.