Detroit Lions: Does Mikel Leshoure's Arrest Make Running Back a Draft Need?

Jay WierengaCorrespondent IApril 2, 2012

ALLEN PARK, MI - AUGUST 01: Mikel Leshoure #25 of the Detroit Lions runs with the ball during the days drills at the Lions training facility on August 1, 2011 in Allen Park, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

It was reported today that Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure was pulled over in Berrien County, Mich., on March 12 in possession of marijuana.

Obviously, this time of year can be boring in St. Joseph, so at least some folks can forgive him for needing some outside stimulus, but that is not the immediate point.

The point is that this is apparently Leshoure's second time getting in trouble with the law for marijuana possession.

The even bigger point is that Leshoure is supposed to be the Lions' primary back, especially considering the injury woes of Jahvid Best.

Leshoure missed the entire season last year with a ruptured Achilles, an injury that does not have a long list of success stories tied to it.

So instead of focusing all of his attention on getting his body in peak condition to earn the contract he was given, he is allegedly using an illegal drug that may have some health benefits, but not anything that would help the performance of a professional athlete.

Now, I am not going to rush to judgement on Leshoure, seeing as he has not been convicted. We still live in a society that puts the onus on the prosecution to prove a case against the defense.

But for the Lions, this news should be troubling at the least.

Remember the last injured, high draft pick that was arrested for marijuana possession?

Remember how the Lions were pinning much of their hopes for their future on him?

Remember how well that turned out?

Of course, I am talking about Charles Rogers, the No. 2 overall pick that ran a sub-4.3 40-yard dash at the combine, flashed some potential as a rookie and then saw his entire career implode in freak injuries and a cloud of marijuana smoke.

If you remember, Rogers got into hot water during his rehab period, and when he finally returned, he was a shell of the player he had been.

Rogers wasn't dealing with leg injuries either. There is no rational reason that a guy could run a sub-4.3 40-yard dash one year and then could not break 4.6 just a couple years later other than the overindulgence in smoking.

But that is an argument for another day.

The real issue here is how does this affect the Lions' plans for the upcoming season?

Already, many people have stated that the Lions would be wise to select a running back in this draft. Even before this incident, the Lions had a huge question mark at the position.

However, most people agreed that the Lions could reasonably hope for one of their backs to carry the bulk of the load, and most hoped that Leshoure would be that one.

But this setback should at the very least put into question Leshoure's commitment to his professional career, something that was far from a sure thing to begin with.

Does this mean that the Lions should start to seriously consider taking a running back in the first three rounds?

Well, the first round is out. There is no running back outside of Trent Richardson that merits a first-round pick. Given the fact that the game is rapidly becoming more pass-oriented, running back is quickly becoming a committee position.

In the second round, there should be some backs coming off the board, and some quality ones at that. But the Lions still have way too many other issues, including a porous secondary and an aging offensive line.

Most mock drafts, including my own, have the Lions focusing on their secondary and offensive line in the first two rounds.

But the third round is a different story.

The Lions probably will need to start considering running back in the third round, especially if there is a playmaker available.

I have stated that LaMichael James would be a good fit for Detroit here, but the Leshoure issue somewhat changes that.

My view was that of the two backs, Best and Leshoure, Mikel was the more likely to bounce back. Therefore, James would be a nice change-of-pace back in case Best turns out to be structurally unsound for the professional game.

But if Leshoure is actually the bigger question mark, that changes things a bit.

Chris Polk, Robert Turbin and Bernard Pierce might be better options here, or maybe Doug Martin if he slides.

The fact of the matter is that the Lions cannot afford to enter training camp with an injury-prone Best, a less than spectacular Kevin Smith and the double-question mark that is Leshoure as their only running backs.