Detroit Lions: Running Back power rankings heading into 2020

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

We sort out each of the pieces and the pecking order for the Detroit Lions’ ground attack

A few months ago, I did a similar ranking for the fully-stocked shelf of linebackers in the pantry at Allen Park this season. The Linebacker Power Rankings sparked several interesting discussions about a Detroit Lions positional group that many of us aren’t quite sure what to make of right now.

This week is my analysis of another position that has been shaken up in the offseason and figures to have quite a bit of preseason competition for jobs and roles. Following a surprising move to grab not one but two running backs in the draft, the Lions now have six under contract, with a lot of overlap in their specific skill sets but also a degree of individual flavor for each of them.

When I look at the Lions’ crew of running backs, I see a group with a lot of upside, one that could potentially be a top ten ground attack in the league this season. It goes without saying that a lot of pieces would have to fall into place, as they haven’t finished even in the top half of the league in that category since 1998.

The running back competition will be one of the more interesting positional subplots when the team begins practice. Given offensive coordinator’s Darrell Bevell’s use of personnel and fondness for a strong ground game, all of them could very well have an important part to play in 2020.

1. Kerryon Johnson

I’m calling Kerryon Johnson “the Jarrad Davis of the offense” heading into this year. He’s the established incumbent starter, but his spot as top dog isn’t set in stone by any stretch. As with Davis on the defense, this season feels like a turning point one way or another for Johnson’s time in Detroit. Also like Davis, plenty of competition was brought in just in case he’s not up to the task.

After a dynamite rookie season where he was the best player on the team through ten games, only 3.6 yards per carry and another knee injury last year make it hard to take anything for granted about Kerryon’s prospects. Still, he’ll be the presumed number one back heading into training camp, while a close eye will be kept on the next guy up on this list.