In his last job, Ron Rivera had a versatile running back, fluent as both a rusher and a receiver.
And since that guy just signed a contract worth $16 million a year, Rivera’s newest running back isn’t going to shy away from the comparison.
Of course, Washington third-round pick Antonio Gibson has a long way to go before he can be compared in any meaningful way to Christian McCaffrey, but he’s hoping there are parallels.
“I would definitely like to compare myself to [McCaffrey] because he’s exactly like what I want to do,” Gibson said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “I want to be in the backfield, but also I want to play in the receiving game. I feel like he’s tremendous doing that, and that’s what I want to bring to the team. My ability to catch effectively and make plays happen and also be able to run — just an all-around team player and an all-around back.”
Of course, McCaffrey was a pedigreed and polished product coming out of Stanford, while Gibson’s still very much of a project coming out of Memphis. During his senior year, he caught 38 passes for 735 yards and eight touchdowns, and ran 33 times for 369 yards and four scores. Washington’s going to give him a chance at running back, and cross their fingers and hope he plays the way McCaffrey did for Rivera in Carolina.
“No, that’s fair. He’s a little bit bigger than Christian, but he’s got a skill set like Christian,” Rivera said. “This is a very versatile, young football player that we really think is going to be a guy that can get on the field for us early and contribute.”
Gibson found a different comparison (and if nothing else a more realistic one) in Cordarrelle Patterson, who has excelled as a special teams player and occasional runner. Either way, he’s a player Washington has high hopes for, even if comparing him to the highest-paid back in the league might be a bit of a stretch.