Last year, the Washington Football Team selected a promising playmaker in the third round.
That pick received some acclaim, but still, expectations were initially kept in check. Certainly no one envisioned that the Day 2 choice would become a focal point of the offense.
Then training camp came around, and the rookie seemed to fit in immediately. Eventually, he didn't just fit in; he stood out. Consistently, too.
Despite not playing in the preseason, the interest in the prospect's ability continued to grow. Some skeptics remained, sure, but the vibe around the team was: Just wait until Week 1. You'll see.
The team was shown to be correct when the April addition starred in the opener, then starred in the next game after that, and the next game after that, and for the rest of the season after that.
Terry McLaurin went from a sneaky favorite of draft pundits to an attention-grabber in camp to Washington's go-to option in a matter of a few months.
And now, with the franchise releasing Adrian Peterson, it feels like Antonio Gibson could soon follow that precise path.
Both players went in Round 3.
Both players entered the league with pro-ready skillsets, yet were originally slated to assume complementary roles, not featured ones.
Both players saw their stock rise thanks to shining performances efforts in July and August.
Both players didn't take the field in the preseason — McLaurin was kept out of exhibition contests in 2019, while Gibson obviously never got the opportunity to appear in any — and therefore stayed off the radar nationally.
That's where their similarities end, at least for now. But like McLaurin, Gibson is going to head into the year as the unquestioned starter on a unit desperate for dynamic contributors, meaning he's in line for a ton of looks. A ton.
And that means there's a solid chance the running back can replicate what the receiver did in his debut campaign.
Gibson remains unpolished in certain areas — Ron Rivera even recently told the media that Gibson gets "confused" at times with all of the responsibilities he has — but that won't prevent Rivera and Scott Turner from involving him anyway. Washington wouldn't have cut Peterson unless they felt strongly about the Memphis product filling his spot on the depth chart.
Some may not like the comparison to McLaurin. The signs are absolutely there, however.
This staff clearly believes they have something special in Gibson, just like the previous one did with McLaurin. It's on Gibson to prove them right.