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Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs believes 1,000 yards rushing, 500 yards receiving within reach as rookie

Detroit Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs has set his sights on a bar rarely crossed by running backs.

Gibbs told ESPN's Michele Steele he believes he can top 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a season.

"Most definitely, especially with this system," the rookie RB said on Monday.

The Lions drafted Gibbs with the No. 12 overall pick, believing he can be a dual-threat difference-maker. In two years at Georgia Tech and one at Alabama, Gibbs never hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark or 500-yard receiving mark during a college campaign. With the Crimson Tide last season, Gibbs generated 926 rush yards and 444 receiving yards with 10 total touchdowns.

A 1,000/500-yard campaign has become a statistical anomaly recently, as NFL clubs platoon backfield players for different purposes. Only Christian McCaffrey hit both figures last season, earning 1,139 yards and 741 receiving.

In the past three seasons, there have been only eight instances of an RB earning 500-plus receiving yards, per Next Gen Stats. Of those, only McCaffrey coupled it with a 1,000-yard rushing campaign last year. Others have come close. Austin Ekeler went 915/722 in 2022 and 911/647 in 2021. Alvin Kamara went 898/756 in 2020.

The Lions have suggested they'll use Gibbs creatively, and with questionable depth at receiver, getting the RB involved in the passing game is logical. The rookie noted that if Detroit gets off to winning ways early, the stats and accolades will come.

"If we win, the rest will come," Gibbs said.

Thursday's kickoff between the Lions and Kansas City Chiefs offers our first real glimpse into how Detroit plans to use Gibbs. K.C. defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knows the running back is one to keep an eye on.

"It's all eyeballs on No. 26 when he goes in the game," Spags said earlier this week, via the official transcript. "That's one of the things we've been talking about, know where he is and if he's in the game because we certainly think with a guy that's that explosive they're going to try to find way to get him the ball."

Gibbs splitting the backfield with David Montgomery could take a bite out of the rookie's statistical upside. Still, there is no question the Lions selected the Alabama product early in the first round believing he could contribute in a big way right out of the gate.

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