One of the biggest advantages of installing a new scheme on both offense and defense is that you will occasionally find players who were just stuck in a poor or underutilized role by the previous staff.
The first clear possibility of this happening with the Lions came from several consecutive, glowing endorsements of former Notre Dame RB and 2013 6th round pick Theo Riddick. First, he received some moderate praise and mild expectations from yours truly, then NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah jump started the Theo Riddick train.
Finally, Reggie Bush himself spoke on the matter (as reported by Paula Pasche), and it’s going to be tough to stop any talk of the budding 2nd year player. Riddick isn’t alone, however, so here are reasons why he and several others are poised to take a big leap in 2014.
In spite of the heavy praise this off-season, Riddick did little as a RB to distinguish himself in 2013. With only 9 carries (2.8 YPC) and 4 receptions to his name, he was the third man in a two-man rotation. Were it not for his special teams ability, Riddick may not have even made the roster in 2013, yet he has impressed nearly everyone who has seen him this off-season.
Will his determination pay off? The addition of a Saints based offense should help with that, as their playbook is predicated on using various skill-sets in different ways. Riddick enters that equation with the broadest set of tools in the RB corps, which can only help him. Let’s just hope the hype doesn’t get to his head; Reggie Bush has said he’s ahead of even where he was at this point in his career.