Well, week one has passed and the Detroit Lions still have no run game. Although they won their matchup Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals 35-23, the team only amassed 83 rush yards total, 10 of those coming from a punter. So far it is looking like the Ameer Abdullah experiment is not working out, so let’s look at the future for the Lions run game:
Draft: So this year is the perfect year to have running back troubles as there are 4-5 first round caliber running backs in this draft. I don’t see us having a high enough pick to get Saquon Barkley, but there aren’t many RB needy teams. If I’m Bob Quinn, unless there is a stud pass rusher, I’m taking Derrius Guice with our first round pick. I know it sounds crazy, but we need that stud RB to change this offense totally and give us chance to be a contender. If not I would like to see Scarborough somewhere in the 2-3 rounds.
Free Agency: There’s this kid from Michigan state who’s set to be a free agent next year who just happens to be the best RB in the league, Le’Veon Bell. He has shown he is willing to leave Pittsburgh if they do not give him enough money and even though the Lions re-signed Stafford to a huge deal, they are set to be at the top in terms of cap space come next year. Le’Veon has said he thinks he deserves starter RB money as well as starter WR money due to his usage, around $12-14 million a year. However, if Quinn decides not to spend big money on a RB, we could always sign Isaiah Crowell. Crowell is 24 years old and just a year ago rushed for 952 yards and 7 TDs, averaging 4.8 YPC for the 1-15 Browns. If all else fails, there is a talented young back in Jonathan Williams, who the Bills cut.
Trade: There are many, many backs the Lions would love to trade for. So for these purposes I’ll be doing my top 3 trades based on fit, talent, and availability (team willingness to trade). 1. T.J. Yeldon, JAX: I have him listed here at number one due to his availability alone. After drafting Fournette No. 4 overall, it’s pretty obvious who will be taking most of the carries. I really like Yeldon’s style as he is big (6-1, 223 lbs) and can just run through people. He can also be a 3rd down receiving back (50-REC, 312 YDS). I also had him ranked over Abdullah coming into the draft. 2. Jeremy Hill, CIN: another “power” style back that can do it all. The bengals will ask for more for Hill, but it won’t be too much. He would be a great 1-2 pinch with Theo Riddick if we trade Abdullah. Although he split carries with Giovani Bernard last year, he still managed to have 839 yards on the ground and 174 through the air. He only had 26 yards on 6 touches vs Ravens Sunday. 3. Mark Ingram, NO: I have him listed last due to his availability. I’m not sure Quinn will want to pay his hefty contract on top of the picks/players we would have to give up for him. The Saints are thick at RB after signing AP and drafting Kamara in the 3rd so they might be willing to let go of Ingram for less than expected. But, coming off of a 1,000 yard season, I don’t see them taking less than a starter caliber player (DJ Hayden) and a mid round pick (4-5th rd).
However, we may not see a change. Hopefully, Abdullah can become that back we need to get this offense where it should be (top 8) and in contention.