With the draft just over three weeks away, the “Scouting Spotlight” will serve as a highlight of five individual players from possible positions of need that the Buffalo Bills could look to address over the course of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The 2020 NFL Free Agency waves have come and gone. The Bills made a multitude of moves to shore up their offensive and defensive lines to go with cornerback as well. We must not forget the blockbuster trade for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. General manager Brandon Beane has looked to address every hole on the roster. The last hole that still appears to be glaring is a complementary running back to pair with Devin Singletary. Could Memphis RB Antonio Gibson fill that role and more?
Antonio Gibson spent just two seasons at the University of Memphis after transferring in from East Central Community College. Gibson began his career as a wide receiver for the Tigers and ended it as one of the best Swiss Army Knife players in college football. He rushed 33 times for 369 yards (11.2 yards per carry) and caught 38 passes for 735 yards receiving in 2019. He totaled 12 touchdowns on offense and one touchdown on a kick return where he averaged 28 yards per kick return as well in 2019.
- Big, explosive athlete (4.39 40) at 6’0” and 228 lbs
- 14 career touchdowns on just 77 offensive touches
- Climbs the ladder for miraculous flashes of body-control catches
- One-cut burst is remarkable
- Shows flashes of being a natural “plucker” of the football
- Tremendous open-field vision to make the home-run play
- Powerful strides that never stop when contact arrives
- Can be an elite kick returner from day one
- Tight-hipped as a runner, which limits his overall creativity in the open field
- One-year wonder from a production standpoint
- Teams will peg him as being more of a gadget player who needs a lot of grooming
- Needs to flatten out his routes coming out of breaks
- Too much urgency behind the line of scrimmage; needs to learn how to be a patient back
- Only has 33 rushing attempts to his name (all of which came in 2019)
Gibson is a dynamic player that teams could fall in love with later in Day 2 or early on Day 3. He offers size, weight, height, speed and explosion as a running back, receiver, and returner. He comes as a hard player to project for the next level who may be looked at by offensive coordinators as a match-up nightmare for defenses in multiple different positions. Gibson will surely carve out a role early as a special teams warrior and someone that teams should look to scheme to get the ball in his hands and watch him work. Gibson is a low floor, high-ceiling player that creative offensive minds will love in the current age of NFL offenses. Gibson comes into the draft as a tough player to slot his range of being selected because of his one-year shine with a severe lack of touches.
Draft Projection: Round 3 - Round 5
Why He Fits the Bills
Gibson is a prime example of a player who is a “touchdown maker”, which Brandon Beane addressed as something he and the team would be looking to add during the 2020 offseason. He offers a Swiss Army Knife piece that could either fill the complementary running back role or even contribute in Isaiah McKenzie’s role from day one. That is what Gibson brings to the table: the potential to fill multiple roles in an offense where he can offer explosive athleticism, home-run speed, and be a valuable asset in the running, passing, and kicking game. If the Bills want that kind of player—of which the offense currently lacks—in the middle rounds, Gibson should be their man.