Ignore what everyone says about the declining value of running backs. Two ball-carriers were officially selected in the first dozen picks of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Detroit chose Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th pick, delivering one of the first significant surprises of the night. The Gibbs selection came four picks after the Atlanta Falcons made Bijan Robinson the first RB off the board.
Gibbs ranked within the top 30 prospects on Daniel Jeremiah's most recent top 150 prospects list, but most everyone expected he'd be selected near the end of the first round, if not early in the second. Detroit ignored the apparent general opinion on the running back, spending the 12th pick on a player who should be able to open up its offense, especially as a pass catcher.
Gibbs was one of two Football Bowl Subdivision players with 900-plus rushing yards and 400-plus receiving yards in 2022, leading Alabama in rushing yards (926), rushing touchdowns (seven) and receptions (44). His 457 receiving yards gained after the catch ranked third among FBS running backs, per Pro Football Focus.
Because of his pass-catching skills, Gibbs is most commonly compared to Saints running back Alvin Kamara, and like Kamara, he can handle the tasks of the ground game, too. After letting Jamaal Williams walk to New Orleans in free agency and signing former Bears standout David Montgomery, the Lions have spent their top selection -- gained after trading down from sixth overall to 12 in a deal with Arizona -- on another weapon at the position, which will undoubtedly lead to questions regarding D'Andre Swift's future in Detroit.
Regardless of what the Lions decide to do with Swift, they've rebuilt their backfield with two complementary backs who should help the Lions maintain their explosive offense in 2023.
After surprising folks with his selection of Gibbs, Lions general manager Brad Holmes turned to the other side of the ball and chose the top linebacker in the 2023 class, Iowa's Jack Campbell.
The 6-foot-4, 249 pounder starred for a stingy, star-studded Hawkeyes defense, displaying excellent run-stopping ability fit for his traditional archetype, while also showing quality coverage instincts and an ability to pressure the passer as a blitzer. The 2022 Dick Butkus Award Winner posted the highest coverage grade among all collegiate linebackers in his final season, per PFF, and will bring those skills to Detroit, where he'll fill out a linebacking corps that includes Alex Anzalone and the scrappy Malcolm Rodriguez.