In order to boost their rushing attack, should the Detroit Lions considering trading for Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill?
The last time the Detroit Lions had a 1,000 yard rusher in the backfield was in 2013 and that was former running back Reggie Bush. Prior to Bush’s second 1,000 yard season in an 11-year career, the Lions hadn’t had a running back hit that touted rushing mark since Kevin Jones a whopping nine years earlier.
The fact is, the Motor City has been under an air raid for far too long. Possessing one of the most lethal passing attacks in the entire NFL, the Lions would benefit greatly from being more balanced on offense.
Consider this: Detroit posted a 9-7 record last season and made their second playoff appearance in three years. And they did so with their leading rusher, Theo Riddick, gaining just 357 yards on the ground. Imagine what a better team Detroit would have been if only they had a genuine rushing threat in the backfield?
That’s an answer we should get this season, with former second round pick Ameer Abdullah returning from a foot injury that limited the third-year running back to just two games in 2016. But Abdullah’s 30 yards on 15 carries to start the season against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday simply wasn’t good enough.
Surely, general manager Bob Quinn and this Lions’ front office is sick and tired of not having a consistent rushing attack to help support quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was recently made the highest paid player in NFL history. Now, more than ever, Detroit must protect their massive investment in Stafford. That means finding him a quality rusher to partner with.
If the Lions eventually do decide that Abdullah is not that player, Detroit must look elsewhere to find the answer. And that could certainly lead them to make a call to Cincinnati.
The Bengals currently have a logjam at running back. On top of having veterans Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard already on the depth chart, Cincinnati opted to use a second round pick on Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in this year’s NFL draft.
With Mixon now in the mix, and Bernard signing a four-year, $16.6 million deal last offseason, Hill is clearly the odd man out in Cincinnati.
A former second round pick himself in 2014, Hill is in the final year of his rookie contract with the Bengals and is scheduled to become a free agent in 2018. That fact makes the 24-year old valuable on the open market. And the Lions could be the ones who benefit.
Hill is a bona fide 1,000 yard rusher. He posted 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns during his rookie season in Cincinnati. In the past two years, Hill has continued to find success on the ground despite the presence of Bernard in the backfield, a second round selection by the Bengals a year prior to Jeremy’s arrival.
In 2015, Hill posted 794 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns sharing carries with Bernard. Last year, he had 839 rushing yards and nine more scores.
At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, Hill is a more powerful rusher between the tackles than current Lions’ running backs Abdullah and the league’s best receiving threat out of the backfield in Riddick.
The Detroit Lions should absolutely consider trading for a player like Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill. Especially if Ameer Abdullah and this Lions’ rushing attack continues to struggle this season.