Fans of the Detroit Lions did not have to wait long to get a glimpse of what Jahvid Best brings to an offense. The way he can burst to the outside and turn the corner adds a dimension to the Lions’ offense that hasn’t been seen in the Motor City for quite some time. I will admit to jumping off the couch in excitement when Best turned the corner against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Due to limited playing time and the adjustment to the NFL game, I expect a rookie to only show flashes of what they can do in the preseason. Jahvid best has shown so many flashes with consistency that it has turned into efficient production in the first two games. His 5.6 yards per carry average is second best in the NFL among rookies with at least ten carries. Only former Wayne State running back Joique Bell’s ridiculous 8.0 is higher. Best’s average isn’t artificially high because of one big gain either. His longest run is 15 yards, something he has done in each game.
As the third running back off the board in last April’s draft, Best has contemporaries that make for a natural comparison. The Buffalo Bills took C.J. Spiller with the ninth pick and the San Diego Chargers took Ryan Matthews with the twelfth pick before the Lion made Best the number 30 overall pick. Spiller and Matthews are also off to good starts with 5.0 and 4.9 yards per carry averages respectively. While those numbers are very far behind Best’s, the Lions can be happy that Best has a number that is far below that of Spiller and Matthews: his salary.
C.J. Spiller’s five year deal is worth $37 million with $20.8 in guarantees and Ryan Matthews will make $25.65 million, including $15 million guaranteed, over the course of his five year deal. Even if Jahvid Best plays out the entire five years of his deal he will earn less than the other two are guaranteed to receive. Best’s five year deal pays $12.7 million with $7.1 million guaranteed. As it stands right now, the Lions have a pretty nice bargain on their hands.