Prospect Review: Antonio Gibson, WR, Memphis

04/18/2020
DB+
  • Name: Antonio Gibson
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 228 lbs
  • School: Memphis
  • Length: 31 ⅛” 
  • 40: 4.39 seconds
  • Games Started: 11
  • Games Played: 28
  • Career Statistics: 369 Rushing Yards and 4 Touchdowns. 44 Receptions for 834 Yards and 10 Touchdowns
  • Season Statistics: 369 Rushing Yards and 4 Touchdowns. 38 Receptions for 735 Yards and 8 Touchdowns
  • Prepared by Nathan Papandrea

Summary (Prepared by Elijah McNaughton)

Antonio Gibson is a versatile player with experience as both a running back and a receiver in his time at Memphis. He’s a four-year senior from Stockbridge, Georgia, but he only saw his junior and senior years as a Memphis Tiger. He transferred from East Central Community College. In his time at Memphis, Gibson started 11 of 28 games and suffered no significant injuries during his collegiate career. 

At the NFL Combine, Gibson measured in at 6’0” and weighed in at 228 pounds. He showed off his top-end speed that we saw on film with a 4.39 40-yard dash time combined with his compact frame. This time was fast enough to be either the fifth-fastest receiver or the fastest running back to run. He showed his strength, as well, with 16 bench press reps. 

Throughout his career at Memphis, Gibson had 1,850 career all-purpose yards (647 kick return yards, 834 receiving yards, and 369 rushing yards) and 15 touchdowns (4 rushing, 10 receiving, one kick return) on just 101 total touches (33 rushes, 44 receptions, 24 kick returns). Pro Football Focus cites Gibson as having 16 broken tackles on the 33 rushing attempts and 17 broken tackles on his 38 catches, both ridiculous numbers. He received honors of 2019 AAC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year, 2019 1st-Team All AAC (kick returner) and 2019 2nd-Team All AAC (wide receiver). 

Once Gibson has the ball in his hands as a runner, his speed was utilized along the perimeter in the Tigers offense. Most of his runs were aimed at the perimeter but often cut back inside because defenders often overpursued the ball in an attempt to leverage his speed. 

He presents the change of direction, strength, and balance to cut back to a hole, step over traffic, and power his way through arm tackles.

In the hole, Gibson presents decent lateral agility to maneuver around traffic and clogged lanes. Once in the open field, Gibson has exceptional speed and burst to pull away from defenders and truly create separation. He has a natural ability to avoid tackles in myriad ways. 

Gibson hasn’t been a true running back since high school, and at times you can see lapses in his vision and decision-making. He can get tunnel vision on occasion, looking to make a cut when it is not needed.

When Gibson needs to make a lateral jump cut, you see some of the tightness in his hips. This is when you will see him take extra steps while trying to re-route his path rather than making a direct jump cut and getting north/south. Gibson has a hard time maintaining his speed through lateral movement in the open field and can’t do it as easily as he does through tight, alley-like areas. 

As a receiver, Gibson’s exceptional overall athleticism is an asset in the passing game. His quickness, suddenness, and vision to run to “green” allow him to separate early in a route stem.

If he is left one-on-one with a nickel corner or safety, he is going to be a handful. He truly presents a mismatch in these situations.

 

With the ball in the air, Gibson time and again shows off outstanding body control and ball tracking ability to snag it and make a play. 

The Georgia native is a natural with the ball in his hands. That’s why his role at the next level could be as a hybrid type player — a gadget guy who can carry the ball out of the backfield, run jet sweeps, and split out wide and make plays on screens.

However, Gibson lacks refined route-running in the same way that his tight hips cause him to take extra steps as a runner in the open field. He struggles to break down quickly and forecasts where he’s going well ahead of time with his eyes.

While route running isn’t his forté, it is something that can be learned. Given his mentality with the ball in his hand, improving in that area makes him a scary prospect.

While he has tremendous ball tracking ability, his hands don’t carry over through the process. Gibson double-catches often and doesn’t always attack the ball with his hands. 

Overall, regardless of his position on the field, Gibson is always a home run threat. He has incredible explosiveness and elusiveness with the ball in his hands.

He is a change of pace running back and a RAC (run after catch) monster as a receiver. Gibson will find himself in a gadget role at the next level, which is quickly becoming a role in every offense, and it’s one he could excel at, given his ability to improvise.

An offensive coordinator is best off scheming Gibson to open space and letting him do the work. Gibson will be a late-day two or early-day three pick. He is, to my eye, a bigger and slightly less quick Isaiah McKenzie with better rushing potential. 

Narrated Breakdowns (Prepared by Erik Turner)

 

 

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