Rumor surfaces as to why Detroit Lions selected Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12

The Detroit Lions pulled off one of the most surprising picks in recent NFL draft history by selecting running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick. While the position wasn't a complete shock, no one had Gibbs on their radar for such an early selection. General Manager Brad Holmes made it clear that he wasn't concerned with outside perception or mock drafts. So, how did the Lions' strategy play out and why did we all miss their intentions? Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer sheds some light on the situation in his recent column.  

Jahmyr Gibbs Detroit Lions

Key Points

  • The Lions surprised everyone by taking Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in the NFL draft.
  • General Manager Brad Holmes wasn't swayed by mock drafts or public opinion.
  • The Lions were initially targeting Devon Witherspoon before he was taken with the fifth overall pick.
  • The Lions were prepared to take Gibbs with the sixth overall pick before the Arizona Cardinals offered a trade down to the 12th pick.
  • The trade was facilitated by the Cardinals' assistant general manager, who previously worked for the Lions.
  • The Lions were concerned that Gibbs wouldn't be available if they waited until their 18th overall pick.  

Rumor surfaces as to why Detroit Lions selected Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12

Here is what Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated had to say about how he believes the Lions selecting Gibbs at No. 12 played out.

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We didn’t think we’d do this at six, Holmes said to Campbell, but who cares? He’s our favorite guy left.

That guy was Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs.

My sense is Detroit felt the same way about him as they did Witherspoon—who they targeted months ago, and who they tried to hide their intentions on (they didn’t have Gibbs in for a 30 visit, and Holmes and Campbell stayed away from his pro day). And who, ultimately, they hoped to pair with Witherspoon.

The initial idea was to get Witherspoon (or Anderson) at No. 6, then trade up from 18 to get Gibbs. Then Arizona traded out, the Colts took Anthony Richardson and, finally, to the Lions’ chagrin, the Seahawks took the draft’s top corner, a scenario under which, indeed, Detroit was ready to say who cares? and break the internet by taking Gibbs.

Thankfully, Ossenfort threw them a life raft.

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The Cardinals gave Holmes the shot to pick up a high second, slide back six spots and, fingers crossed, still land Gibbs, by staying in front of two teams the Lions heard liked him, in the Patriots (at 14) and the Jets (at 15). So instead of Witherspoon and Gibbs, they wound up with Gibbs, and Iowa LB Jack Campbell (at 18) and TE Sam LaPorta (at 34).

Bottom Line – Lions take a gamble with Gibbs pick  

In the end, the Lions' decision to draft Gibbs with the 12th overall pick was a bold move that took many by surprise. The team's leadership was unapologetic in their approach and had a clear strategy in mind. It remains to be seen if the pick will pay off, but it's clear that the Lions are committed to building a team that reflects their vision and values. As the NFL offseason continues, it will be interesting to see how the Lions' approach to the draft will impact the team's performance in the upcoming season.

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