LSU running back Derrius Guice is everything that the Detroit Lions backfield has been missing and he needs to be the Motor City’s first round pick of 2018.
The Detroit Lions closed out the season with a win against the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon. Both teams were already eliminated from the playoffs before the New Years Eve match-up began. Which overshadowed the face that the Lions swept the Packers for the first time since 1991 in what was an entertaining game for both fans at the stadium, and at home.
Now it’s time for general manager Bob Quinn to focus on making this team a contender for next season. A big part of that will be another successful draft in April. Quinn has a lot of ground to cover. Detroit needs help on the offensive line. They also need to add a solid pass rushing threat on defense. That’s all true, but the most important issue Quinn needs to address is the teams run game. [Or lack there of.]
The Lions have gone more than four years without a 100-yard rusher. The last running back to run for over 100 yards in a game was running back Reggie Bush. He did it in 2013 on Thanksgiving Day.
Detroit has depended solely on quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s ability to make plays. To give you some perspective; The Lions have only had a 100-yard rusher seven times in Stafford’s career. He’s 6-1 in games where his team has a 100-yard rusher.
In a draft rich with talented young backs, there’s one in particular that would fit perfectly in Detroit. That back is Louisiana State University’s Derrius Guice.
Guice ran for well over 1,000 yards both in 2016 and 2017 at LSU. The 20-year-old running back is 5’11” and weighs in at around 212 pounds. He’s the first player in SEC history to rush for over 250 yards three different times.
LSUsports.net calls Guice an “Electrifying ball-carrier that has the potential to score every time he touches the football.” Matthew Stafford has had to carry the team on his shoulders since he came into the league, imagine what he could do with a dangerous running back. Not a back that the team signs as a free-agent at the tail end of their career. No, the Lions need a fresh set of legs that haven’t even reached anywhere near their full potential yet.
The last time Detroit used their first pick of the draft on a running back was in 1989 when the team drafted Barry Sanders. And although It’s taboo for Motor City fans to talk about the team using their number one draft pick on a running back, it’s what needs to happen this year if the team wants to become a true contender in the NFC.
The Dallas Cowboys drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. He helped a team that went 4-12 in the previous season improve to 13-3 his rookie season. Elliot had an immediate impact.
Another example is the Carolina Panthers who selected running back Christian McCaffrey eighth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Panthers went 6-10 in 2016. After the addition of McCaffrey Carolina ended the 2017 regular season with a record of 11-5.
With the fate of the entire Lions coaching staff in limbo, it’s not clear who will be calling the offensive plays in 2018. One thing is certain, there won’t be many excuses to be made for a failed running game with a player like Guice lining up in the backfield.