The Depth Chart series on Side Lion Report takes a closer look at some of the football players who may go unnoticed on the Detroit Lions depth chart. Be sure to follow this series if you are interested in learning about some of the lesser known players that the Lions are bringing to training camp on July 23.
Born: May 28, 1989
College: Penn State
Jersey #: 43
The Detroit Lions quickly signed running back Stephfon Green as an undrafted free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft.
Unless Green puts on a tremendous showing of quickness, speed, and running back vision during training camp, and throughout the preseason games, he has no shot at making the 53-man squad. The Lions depth chart is littered with talented running backs who have proved themselves already in the college and professional ranks. Jahvid Best (2010 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 30) and Mikel Leshoure (2011 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 57) were drafted with high picks by the Lions front office brass, and newly acquired, third year undrafted free agent running back, Joique Bell has shined on the Saints practice squad—especially during the 2011 preseason exhibition games.
Stephfon Green did not have the most productive career at the collegiate level, but after watching some of his highlight videos, it is clear that he has the talent to be something special. If the Lions can place him on the practice squad and give him an opportunity to grow into the role of a backup running back, Green could have a nice career here in Detroit. Expect him to shine during the preseason games—similarly to ex-Detroit Lion running back Aaron Brown—and to sign on as a practice squad player shortly afterward.
What the experts have to say:
Draft Scout Snapshot: 2010: Playing in every game, he was third on the squad with 188 yards on 48 carries and one touchdown. Ranked second on the team with 17 kickoff returns for a 19.8 average. 2009: Played in 11 games, missed two with a sprained ankle. Gained 319 yards on 71 carries (4.5 per) and scored three rushing touchdowns. Also had six receptions for 80 yards (13.3). His 25.5-yard average on four kickoff returns led the team. Gained 120 yards on 13 attempts against the Illini, scored a 52- yard touchdown. 2008: Played in every game, rushing for 578 yards on 105 carries for a strong 5.5 average and four touchdowns. Also made 15 receptions for 268 yards, averaging 17.9 ypr. Gained 132 yards on only nine carries (14.7 avg.) in the 45-3 victory over Temple. Saw significant playing time against Southern California in the 2009 Rose Bowl, gaining 124 all-purpose yards before he suffered a dislocated right ankle suffered on a fourth-quarter carry. 2007: Redshirted.
Dislocated right ankle in the 4th quarter of the 2009 Rose Bowl and missed 2009 spring practices. Missed 2009 Michigan and Northwestern games with an ankle injury. Sustained a concussion and neck injury in 2010. Limited by a right shoulder injury during 2011 spring practices. Below average bulk makes durability that much more of a concern.
Used as a lead blocker and to help out in pass in protection. Showed willingness to get in the way but didn’t square up and smack defenders in the mouth. Ran hard and fought for yards after contact.
Turned shoulders upfield as soon as located seam when defense stretched play out to sideline. In fairness, can improve in this area more carries but has shown average at best instincts thus far. Didn’t always follow lead block. Made unnecessary cut and danced in the hole a little too much.
Quick enough to turn the corner and showed a second gear when got a seam. Can cut back and bounce runs outside but average elusiveness and didn’t make as many defenders miss in space as team would prefer from a back his size.
Tried to spin off tackles but ran with a narrow base and didn’t pick up enough yards after contact. Can get driven back when collides with linebacker in phone booth and not strong enough to push the pile in short-yardage situations.
Average awareness. Can be a step late recognizing blitz and appeared to blow an assignment in the fourth quarter of the 2010 Illinois game. Not big or strong enough to anchor in pass protection. Sub-par technique in pass protection. Got caught ducking head and lunging. Can get in the way as a cut blocker but didn’t attack the thigh and cut the legs out from blitzing defenders. Above average focus catching pass in traffic. Quick enough to develop into an effective route runner that can separate from man coverage.
Has been in and out of the Penn State offense for the past four seasons due to off the field issues, and character could end up being a concern. Possesses average size and runs with good forward lean when pressing the hole. Exhibits a “plus” initial first step, can eat up ground quickly and accelerate instantly into the second level. Possesses elite straight-line speed. Looks like a sub 4.4 guy who plays at another gear in the open field. Can routinely outrun angles in space and be a homerun threat once he gets the football in his hands.
However, isn’t the most instinctive of backs. Has a tough time picking his way through the line of scrimmage, trusting what he sees and too often will slow his feet at the line. Exhibits sneaky power for his size because he runs with a good pad level and can slither his way through contact. However, isn’t a guy who is going to break tackles consistently at the line. Showcases average quickness with his feet, but isn’t real fluid laterally when trying to pick his way through the line and make a man miss. Uses his head/shoulder fakes to accelerate past defenders, but isn’t a guy who has the lateral wiggle to consistently make defenders miss.
Will catch the football out of the field in the screen game, but doesn’t look overly aware snapping his head around and feeling defenders around him. Pops upright at first and needs a second to take in the surroundings.
Impression: Is at his best in space where he can be a threat with his straight-line speed. However, isn’t a real natural runner and his size and off the field concerns will keep him from getting drafted. Is worth a shot in a camp though as a potential 3rd down guy.