With a draft that featured two running backs and two offensive guards, have the Detroit Lions finally fixed their running game issues?
The Detroit Lions seem to have focused hard on the ground game in the draft by selecting not one, but two new running backs. They followed that up by selecting not one, but two offensive guards. Will these selections lead to a cure for the ground game that has long been an Achilles heel for this team?
The second-round selection of Georgia running back D’Andre Swift was a bit of a surprise, but not a horrible choice by any means. He will pair nicely with current Lions running back Kerryon Johnson for a formidable one-two punch at best. The duo will keep each other fresh and Swift will be an insurance policy for injury at the very worst.
The Lions then turned around in the fifth round and selected a replacement for departed running back J.D. McKissic as the gadget role in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s scheme. New Mexico State running back Jason Huntley brings a lot of speed to the roster while also crowding the backfield a little bit with veteran’s Bo Scarbrough and Ty Johnson as backup options.
This certainly looks like a backfield by committee as the Lions open the 2020 season. After the injuries that plagued the position in 2019, one can hardly blame the team for adding a couple of capable bodies to the group. But, the team didn’t stop there.
Doubling down on improving the interior of the offensive line, the Detroit Lions selected guards in back to back rounds. Starting with Ohio State’s Jonah Jackson in the third round and continuing with Kentucky’s Logan Stenberg in the fourth round, the position group should be greatly improved.
Jackson was a high-value selection that received rave reviews while Stenberg has a mean streak that tends to be a good thing for the big guys battling in the trenches. Once again, the Lions decided to add quality players at a position that had some injuries and fluctuation in 2019.
Pairing the running back talent that was drafted with the draft capital used on these interior linemen points to one thing – an improved running game. We know the Lions have a capable quarterback and pass catchers. Combining those assets with an influx of talent on the running game will bring good things for the entire team.
If the ground game takes off, look for these Detroit Lions to start grinding out some victories and controlling the clock. They might not put up more points, but they’ll wear down opposing defenses while keeping their own defense rested on the sidelines as they extend the length of their drives. If this is indeed the cure for the running game, good times are on deck for these Lions.