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Detroit Lions in Review - Running Backs

This is one area that absolutely needs to be addressed. Whether it is in the draft, free agency or trading, the Detroit Lions need to improve at the running back position.

Kevin Smith is simply no better than an average player at this position. After 29 games and 455 carries, Smith has only broken a run for over 32 yards once. It was a fifty yard scramble and he was caught from behind, keeping him from scoring a touchdown. Only one carry for over 32 yards! Kevin Smith is not big enough to be a bruising back who drags defenders for the extra yards and he just does not have the extra gear to break away for long runs. In other words, when he is in the game, the defenses do not worry about him. Grade = ( D )

Maurice Morris is not much better than Kevin Smith in this area. Many fans will look at how well he played after Smith went down with the injury and think he can be a good running back. Don't be fooled, he is nothing better than average himself. Maurice did have one very good run where he broke away for a 64 yard touchdown. Keep in mind however that other than that one long break away, Morris did not have another run for more than 16 yards in his other 92 carries. Grade = ( C- )

The Lions do have one speedy running back in Aaron Brown, but for some reason I have not begun to understand, Schwartz did not feel the need to give him a chance. Every fan who watched the Lions could see their running backs are slow, but rather than give the speedy kid a chance, Schwartz kept him on the bench while he continued to play slower, less talented running backs. I know Brown did not do well as a return specialist, but that has nothing to do with playing running back. In his limited carries, Brown still had a better yards per carry average than the other running backs and he has good hands coming out of the back field. Grade = (inc.)

There is some talk of the Lions looking at taking a running back in the draft. The only way I would even consider this move is if they can get a running back with the entire package. Size, strength, good hands and most importantly, exceptional speed. The only reason I would even consider this is because the upcoming draft is supposed to be loaded with linemen, both offensive and defensive and they can take one player and still have time to take linemen. If the real deal is not available, they have to build the trenches up.

Overall Grade = ( D+ )

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