The Detroit Lions were not much of a threat to run the ball in 2016. It made the offense significantly one-dimensional. Over the years, the Lions have tried many different running backs and have never really found the guy, the bell-cow type running back that forces opposing teams to change their game plans. And it’s not like they have had a solid committee either.
The Detroit Lions Should Draft Dalvin Cook
In 2016, the Lions leading rusher was Theo Riddick with 357 yards, an embarrassingly low total for a team leader. This says a lot more about the Lions ability to run the ball than Riddick. Both Riddick and Ameer Abdullah, the Lions two best running backs, can be effective but they have very similar play styles and both struggle to stay on the field. In addition, Abdullah has shown a tendency to fumble, as he had five fumbles in his rookie season alone.
Riddick has shown that he is one of the best receiving backs in the NFL when healthy. He is definitely the type of player that you want to have on your roster because he is incredibly shifty and fantastic at catching passes out of the backfield. With that being said, he is not an every down back and has shown little evidence that he can run between the tackles on a consistent basis.
The Lions could solve many of these issues by drafting former Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. In his three seasons with the Seminoles, Cook was the definition of a bell-cow back. He had nearly 700 carries, ran for 4,464 yards and added 46 touchdowns.
With Riddick and Abdullah already on the team, the Lions wouldn’t need Cook to take on that type of workload initially. The Lions could allow Cook to catch up to the NFL game speed without throwing him to the wolves right out of the gate.
The case to take a running back in the first round is growing stronger every year, especially with the success the Cowboys found with rookie Ezekiel Elliott. With the addition of Elliott, the Cowboys became an offensive juggernaut that few teams could slow down because they had to be prepared to stop the run and passing games.
If the Lions added a consistent running threat in addition to what should be an improved offensive line with the signings of T.J. Lang and Ricky Wagner as well as a year under the belt for last years first round pick Taylor Decker, the Lions offense could be looking at a big leap forward.
The reason Cook would be a great fit with the Lions is he has a very complimentary game to the backs the Lions currently have. Standing at 5 feet 10 inches and weighing 210 pounds, Cook brings the solid frame that the Lions have been lacking. With elite speed and good vision, Cook has tons of potential at the NFL level.
There is the potential that Cook could be off the board by the time the Lions select at 21. But if he is still available when the Lions are on the clock, he would be a perfect fit for the Lions current needs.