The Detroit Lions finished the 2016 season with the 30th ranked rushing game in the NFL. Surely things couldn’t get worse, right?
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. The Lions finished dead last in 2017; even the 0-16 Cleveland Browns faired better. The second to last team in overall rushing yards, the Cincinnati Bengals, accumulated 145 more than the Lions.
Now, GM Bob Quinn will be taking a new approach heading into 2018.
“I think our running backs, they didn’t perform as good as everyone thought. I think that’s the facts,” Quinn said, via the Detroit Free Press. “But I think we have guys in that room that are tough guys, they’re smart guys, they have skill. Will we add someone? Probably, to that room. Absolutely.”
Detroit began the season with Ameer Abdullah as their No. 1 running back, but he finished the year as their third back behind Theo Riddick and Tion Green. He admitted he wasn’t used to the way events turned out.
“It’s just been very sporadic, very different for me,” Abdullah told the Free Press last week. “It’s been a very different experience. I’m used to being a solid contributor to my team in all phases, at all times, when I was playing. So just kind of work with what I’m given right now. It’s interesting, but I think it’s teaching me a lot.”
“Of course, I would love to finish where I started, for sure,” Abdullah said. “But there’s 32 teams and I know who I am and I know what kind of player I am, especially when I’m getting the proper opportunity and things are right around me. So I’m definitely confident.”
The Lions hold the 20th overall selection in this year’s Draft, and while they’ll have plenty of options to choose from, they may also seek to bolster their running game through free agency. Here are a few of the options they may consider this offseason:
- Le’veon Bell – The former Michigan State University is in his fifth year with the Pittsburgh Steelers and has accumulated 85 receptions, 1,291 yards, and 9 touchdowns. However, the Steelers are expected to franchise tag him for a second straight year.
- LeGarrette Blount – With 766 yards, eight receptions, and two touchdowns, Blount is still going strong with the Eagles and accumulated 18 touchdowns last season with New England.
Carlos Hyde – The former Ohio State Buckeye has accumulated eight touchdowns and 940 yards and is expected to be released by the 49ers.
Isaiah Crowell – With 850 yards and 4.5 yards per carry, 4th year pro Crowell has started 32 games for Cleveland the past two seasons.