Detroit Lions showing depth at running back position

Craig Reynolds, Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Craig Reynolds, Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s exciting when the first Detroit Lions preseason game comes with a flashy touchdown by a newly signed player. One good play certainly doesn’t make a player the next Barry Sanders. We need to remember this is the first preseason game and try not to overreact. One thing that exciting play did show is some possible depth at the running back position.

The play mentioned above is, of course, a 24-yard scamper by Lions’ running back Craig Reynolds that ended with a leap and reach to get the ball over the goal line for the team’s only touchdown on the day. If Reynolds makes the team, he certainly has a legendary story as he introduced himself in the huddle before that play and was added to the roster the day before the game.

But let’s not put the cart before the horse here. Reynolds is a great story so far, but the benefit of his ability that was shown on Friday night is that the Detroit Lions are flashing some depth at the running back position. This is significant because staring running back D’Andre Swift is currently nursing a groin injury, although he’s expected back at practice Tuesday night.

While the Lions appear to be taking it slow with bringing Swift back from his injury, and with good reason, Jamaal Williams has been working as the lead back. As a new addition to the team, he can use the time to get further acclimated to the offense. And Swift, Williams, and Reynolds aren’t the only running backs on the roster. Rookie Jermar Jefferson is also waiting in the wings to get some action on the field.

Jefferson has been nursing an ankle injury and missed some time. Prior to his injury, the word was Jefferson was showing some promise and getting some reps with the first-team offense while Swift was out as well. He saw limited action on Friday while running back Dedrick Mills saw more reps during the game.

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As the preseason goes along, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a little bit more of Swift and Williams and a little less of Mills and Reynolds, just to get them ready for the regular season. Keep a close eye on the cuts that are coming in the next couple of weeks as the roster slowly gets trimmed to 53 players.

It will be interesting to see how many running backs make the roster or are signed to the practice squad. But one thing is for sure, these Detroit Lions currently have some depth and capable playmakers at the position.