The 2023 season will be the 90th for the Detroit Lions calling the Motor City home. Add four seasons as the Portsmouth Spartans (1930-1933), and this will be the 94th season for the franchise.
Dating back to that first season as an NFL franchise, the Lions have had some Hall of Fame talent at running back. There have also been some backs who did not fulfill the full extent of their promise over the years, due to injuries, etc. A long drought without a 1,000-yard rusher came to an end in 2022, when Jamaal Williams topped the mark for the Lions for the first time since Reggie Bush did it in 2013.
No. 1 on the list of the best running backs in Lions' history is too obvious to be named, but we will of course name him when we get there here. The rest of that top-5 is more interesting to think about, and perhaps subject to the era someone grew up watching Lions' football. No. 2 may be an obvious one too. Dipping way back into franchise history may be an order to fill out the list.
After we've shaped lists of the best quarterbacks and head coaches in the franchise's history, here are the five best running backs in Detroit Lions history.