Detroit Lions, NFC North Position Rankings: Running Backs
By Jack Ozark
1. Detroit Lions
Yes, I know. The Lions don’t run the ball well. They never run the ball well. They always rank at the bottom of the league. Well, oddly enough the running back position isn’t just about running the ball. And that is where Detroit kills it.
We can start with running back Theo Riddick. The guy Lions fans have watched struggle to run out of the backfield, but get him the ball in space and he destroys ankles.
I think every NFL fan already has a favorite Theo moment. Riddick is the perfect player for this offense and a great compliment back to have, which is exactly what he will be this season.
Ameer Abdullah is where all the potential hype sits. He looked great at the start of last season, and then the freak injury hit him and he was stuck on the sidelines the rest of the year. The fact that Detroit didn’t draft a running back at all is a big sign that they are trying to hand him the keys to the backfield.
What Abdullah has that a lot of backs don’t anymore is the full package of talent. Where Riddick is basically as helpful in the actually running game as I am, Ameer is talented at running and catching out of the backfield. The offense line additions this offseason are going to help him as well, and this should be a big season for the young running back.
And honestly, Zach Zenner and Matt Asiata both could provide something to this backfield as well. At the end of last season, Zenner seemed to prove that if needed he could be a great North-South runner in spurts. And Asiata has been a touchdown vulture and fall forward husky back for years now.
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I think this combination of talent and the growth of the entire Lions offense is going to lead to a strong season from this group of backs.
Up next – Wide Receivers.