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Opinions are split on whether or not the Lions need a new running back. There is certainly lots of talent at the position, but the question remains whether any of them will be healthy in 2012 (or beyond).
Even for those who believe the Lions need another running back, few think the Lions should invest as much in the position as they have in recent years. Spending a fifth-round pick seems to satisfy both conditions, especially considering how the first half of this draft addresses the offensive line, the actual culprit holding back the Lions' rushing attack.
Chris Rainey is an interesting prospect, because he played both wide receiver and running back at Florida. With those skills, his quickness and speed, he makes a lot of sense as Jahvid Best insurance. He doesn't quite have the speed or the playmaking ability Best has, but he doesn't have the medical red flags, either.
Best of all, Rainey is a pretty good value in the fifth round. He is projected to go as high as the third, but there are a couple issues that will likely push him down the board.
First, running backs are not exactly en vogue in the draft these days, and as the league becomes increasingly pass-centric, running backs become a smaller part of the offense.
Second, Rainey got himself suspended in 2010 for an aggravated stalking misdemeanor, which raises a minor red flag. He did community service and anger management, and hasn't been much of a character issue since. But for a mid-round player at an increasingly expendable position, even high-character guys are going to have a difficult time getting drafted, much less a guy with a legal history.
In the fifth round, though, the potential reward far outweighs the risk.