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Cowboys draft 2023: Running back Jahmyr Gibbs prospect profile

Film study of Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, a potential draft prospect for the Cowboys.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The one element the Dallas Cowboys were lacking last year was playmaking. A lack of explosive playmakers was limiting the offense and a terrific defense was not being complemented in the way that it should be. Dallas has taken a few steps this offseason to rectify that problem area.

First, the team made sure to secure one of their few playmakers, Tony Pollard, assigning the franchise tag to him. Secondly, desperately needing a wide receiver threat, Dallas acquired Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans for minimal draft capital. However, the Cowboys aren’t finished.

Entering the NFL Draft you get the sense that the Cowboys want to take one big swing for the fences to launch them into the thick of the offseason. So far, the Cowboys have been rumored to select a tight end (Dalton Kincaid) or perhaps a wide receiver if one like Jordan Addison or Jaxon Smith-Njigba would fall to them at 26. Then you have some fans that would be elated if the team could land Bijan Robinson with their first pick. There’s another running back that isn’t quite Bijan Robinson, but does have serious home run potential.

That is Jahmyr Gibbs.

The Good

Gibbs has a fine understanding of how to blend his patience and speed as a runner, waiting for just the right time for the hole to open before bursting through it. He’s got the lateral agility to squeeze through the tightest space and come out with a burst on the other side. Gibbs also demonstrates good lateral movement to make sharp, quick jump cuts in tight spaces.

As a pass catcher, Gibbs has mostly sure hands, serving as a reliable option running patterns from his tailback spot, Gibbs is routinely asked to run underneath angle routes and two-way go’s. Alabama occasionally used Gibbs on the jet motion to get him the ball in space with a running start and let his speed take over.

For distance, he got premier breakaway speed. Against Arkansas last year, he was given a seam and left the Razorbacks in the dust for long runs on two separate occasions.

The bad

Gibbs’ size and build do bring questions if he is adept play a lot of snaps and if can he be a capable runner in short-yardage situations. The physical part of the NFL could be a challenge he will need to overcome.

In pass protection, because of Gibbs’ slight frame, he gets engulfed by bigger oncoming defenders and delivers glancing blows instead of sure blocks. Even on chips before releasing from the backfield, he could do more in that department to deliver more direct contact. Alabama might have noticed this deficiency also since he was seldom tasked with pass protections in the games observed. Gibbs will need to develop a stronger lower body. He was impeded far too often by arm tackles.

In the games on film, Alabama didn’t use Gibbs in the slot as a wide receiver often, and when lined at wide receiver was very limited in his route tree. The routes he ran were limited to curls, often being the decoy in route combinations.


If the Cowboys were to draft Gibbs with their first pick, it practically means Tony Pollard won’t be in the team’s long-term future. Both have a similar skillset and Gibbs would assume the same role for half the cost. The Cowboys could then double back on a running back with a skill set different than Gibbs later in the draft, or they may think they have that in Ronald Jones, Malik Davis or another possible free agent.

Gibbs’ running style also lets the Cowboys call more plays to attack the edges in the running game.

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