Could the Chicago Bears draft Antonio Gibson from Memphis?
Antonio Gibson is a fascinating prospect. He was a multi-purpose athlete who flew under the radar and spent his first two seasons at JuCo. Gibson transferred to Memphis but barely saw the field in his first season.
However, Gibson exploded onto the scene in 2019. He was used in a variety of ways, catching 38 passes and rushing 33 times. While that is not much usage, and it was scattered, he made the most of it, netting over 1,000 yards on 71 touches.
Is Gibson a player the Chicago Bears could use, and when would they want to look into drafting him.
Antonio Gibson is a rare player. You do not see players with his weight, at 228, run his speed, a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash. Gibson was a track athlete and that shows in his elite speed for that size.
Still, Gibson is shorter, and thicker, and looks more like a running back than a receiver. He did have seven less rushes than receptions last year.
Gibson was elusive and explosive. When he got the ball, he was able to work in space, making defenders miss. He broke tackles laterally, then burnt defenders vertically. A player that you just want to get the ball in his hands is a player who can fit any offense.
He has almost no experience, and that experience is playing a role that is different than almost any other player. He played in the slot, but barley ran routes. He took carries out of the backfield but also was used on screens, reverses, and creative ways. Does he have a position? Do 71 touches at college warrant the hype?
NFL Comparison for Antonio Gibson
There are only 20 players since 2000 to weigh over 225 pounds, and run a 40-yard under 4.45 seconds. Gibson has the sixth-best 40 time. Of that list there are four other wide receivers, two tight ends, and 13 running backs. The odds are in favor of him being a running back. In fact, the two closest physical and athletic comparisons for Gibson are Ronnie Brown and Kevin Jones.
What is funny about both is that they were both first-round picks. This freakish combination of size and speed is rare, and teams will draft high for that talent. Gibson is obviously much more raw than these players, but this does show what kind of upside they are working with.
Fit with Chicago Bears
Looking at the usage, size, athleticism and potential NFL fit, Antonio Gibson could almost be looked at as a super-sized Tarik Cohen. He can be motioned into the slot, backfield, wherever. The Bears love what they can do with Cohen, so Gibson has to pique their interest.
The Bears need depth at receiver and running back, and Gibson could arguably fill in at both spots in some form or fashion. Gibson is expected to be drafted in the fourth round according to PFF and is being mocked at pick 154 on average. If he was available at the Chicago Bears 140th or 163rd pick, he would be an intriguing addition to the offense.