The Best that never was.
Jahvid Best - Dynamic running back from Cal that set records on fire and lifted the hopes of a Detroit Lions fan base that hadn't seen a dominating running back since Barry Sanders retirement in 1999.
Drafted 30th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft - Best had the third fastest overall 40 yard dash time and was the fastest among running backs. He was selected in a pick trade from the Minnesota Vikings by the Detroit Lions 30th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Regarding the pick, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said,
"Some people watch adult videos on their computer... I go to YouTube and watch Jahvid Best highlight clips. That’s what gets me going."
The Jahvid Best pick was not without controversy however. In November of 2009, Best suffered his second concussion in just two weeks during the second quarter of Cal's November 7 match up against Oregon State. In the process of scoring a rushing touchdown, he hurdled a defender into the end zone and was accidentally pushed by a second Oregon State defender in mid-air, causing him to land on the back of his head with his helmet coming off. The play resulted in a concussion for Best and he would eventually miss the rest of the regular season.
Jahvid Best Heisman Candidate Highlights
Best would start 15 games in 2010 for the Detroit Lions, however his production was lack luster, hindered by a double turf toe injury. Best would end the season with a dismal 555 total yards, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry.
2011 was a chance for a new beginning for Jahvid Best, and fans of the Detroit Lions once again positioned themselves behind the back, hoping for the explosive runs that he was so capable of producing, however Best suffered a concussion on his second carry in the Lions third pre-season game of the season on August 19, a 30-28 win versus the Cleveland Browns. Best battled back from this concussion, having his first 100+ yard game Oct 10th against the Bears, rushing for 163 yards and a career long 88-yard touchdown run.
On October 16th, Jahvid Best played what is now believed to be his last game as a Detroit Lion. During the second half of the Lions 25-19 loss to San Francisco on October 16, Best suffered another concussion. This would prove to be the last proverbial nail in the coffin of Jahvid Best's NFL career. Despite Cognitive Therapy for the entire 2012 season and a supportive team staff and fan base - it would seem that in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions will look to move on from the injured back.
General manager Martin Mayhew told the Detroit Free Press at the Senior Bowl that the team has a need for a certain kind of guy.
“We need that shifty back that can come in and be that change-of-pace guy who can catch passes out of the backfield, a guy that can run routes and get one-on-one with a linebacker,” Mayhew said. “That’s what Jahvid gave us, a guy with some juice, some elusiveness.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz has worked hands on with some of the Senior Bowl talent and offered his assessment.
“Guys fit a lot of different ways,” Schwartz said. “Some guys are good in the passing game, some guys are good as true running backs, some guys are good protectors. There’s not a whole lot of guys that combine for all of them. The idea is to put them in positions that they can make plays.”
- Cal record for most rushing yards in a single game at 311, achieved on December 6, 2008 against the Washington Huskies
- Second highest Cal single season rushing record with 1,580 yards in 2008, second to J. J. Arrington's record of 2,018 yards in 2004
- Most all purpose yards in a single season (2008) with 2,247 total yards
- 2008 Emerald Bowl rushing record with 186 yards
- Set a modern era Cal record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game with five scored against Minnesota on September 19, 2009. Dick Dunn rushed for six in 1922