Detroit has one of many backfields where the roles are not clearly defined. Since running back is one of the most important positions in fantasy football, it's wise to get as clear a picture as possible on every backfield.
The Lions have had one 1,000-yard rusher since 2004, but this offseason seemed to indicate more of a commitment to improving the backfield. Veteran LeGarrette Blount and rookie Kerryon Johnson were brought in, while Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah remain. Will the Detroit running back production pie increase this season? How will these four backs slice it?
Daniel Simpkins: I think the coaching staff has lost faith in Ameer Abdullah, so he's out in terms of mattering in this rotation. That leaves Theo Riddick to take on a Chris Thompson-like role because he clearly can't handle between-the-tackles work. What I'm not completely sure about is how the rushing work will be split between Blount and Johnson. The round two selection suggests confidence in Johnson, and from a skills standpoint, I agree with their choice to take him there. Burst is the first thing you notice when you watch Johnson run, and that is a good standout trait for a runner to have. Vision, patience, and flexibility to squeeze through tight holes are other traits I saw Johnson regularly display on his film. Yet I worry about the slender build and angular frame of Johnson. He is not one to shy away from contact. That said, I am concerned that he will not hold up to a full workload. The right answer is for Blount to get a third of the carries and for Johnson to get two-thirds of them to take some of the load off Johnson-- but will Matt Patricia see it that way?
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