The Detroit Lions recently signed a veteran running back in free agency. But does his presence on the depth chart stop the team from drafting for the position too?
The Detroit Lions‘ depth chart appears to be full when it comes to running backs in the Motor City. Last year’s rookie phenom, Kerryon Johnson, is expected to be the focal point of the Lions’ rushing attack in 2019.
Although after playing in just 10 games last season, the Lions are expected to be more diligent about the way they use Johnson. Enter in free agent running back C.J. Anderson. Just signed on Monday, Anderson is expected to fill a role similar to LeGarrette Blount, who was not re-signed this offseason.
Also on the depth chart in Detroit are running backs Zach Zenner, Theo Riddick, Kerwynn Williams and Mark Thompson (a futures signing). Zenner’s strong play at the end of last year earned himself another season in Motown. While Riddick is still one of the NFL’s top receiving threats out of the backfield.
With the current roster consisting of a fairly good balance of young talent and veteran experience at running back, would the Lions still consider drafting for the position later this month? The answer is likely a definite yes. Riddick, Zenner, Williams and the newly signed Anderson are all scheduled to become free agents in 2020.
Plus, Detroit has a whopping nine selections going into the draft, with two each in both the sixth and seventh rounds. And there figures to be a plethora of running back talents available on Day Three of the draft.
For example, longtime former executive and NFL.com media analyst Gil Brandt chose Oklahoma’s Rodney Anderson as the best fit for the Lions. Here’s his explanation as to why …
"“[Anderson’s] a very good back, a tough runner who can run it inside or bounce it outside and make an impact as a pass-catcher in the Lions’ scheme. The Oklahoma product should be available in the fifth or sixth round, and he could be a steal for Detroit, if he stays healthy enough to let his talent shine.”"
Rodney Anderson suffered three season-ending injuries while at Oklahoma. But in 2017, he posted an impressive 1,161 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. A legitimate dual-threat, Anderson also had 17 receptions for 281 yards and five more scores. He is a Day Two talent who should be available near the bottom of the draft due to his shocking injury history. But he could absolutely be a steal for Detroit if healthy.