Detroit Lions: Why 2012 Is the Time for Jahvid Best to Step Up

Nick KostoraContributor IIIJune 8, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 10:  Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions celebrates his third quarter touchdown while playing the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 24-13.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It is time for Jahvid Best to make his mark on the Detroit Lions depth chart.

He has shown flashes of brilliance on the field during his two year career, but that's just it, they have only been flashes.

Granted, Best has had an offensive line in front of him that struggles at run blocking (here's looking at you Stephen Peterman) and he has battled some mild injuries.

But this is a first-round pick we are talking about here.

The returns need to start coming in from a player that Lions management deemed worthy of trading up to draft.

Entering 2012 there are two main factors that should ensure Best's success:

Detroit's passing game is among the best in the NFL

Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the rest of the gang will ensure that opposing defenses cannot key in on Best or anyone else in the Lions backfield.

The passing game is not afraid to take vertical shots down the field early in possessions and with a weapon like "Megatron" stretching the field it is unlikely teams will be stacking the box against the run too often.

Mikel LeShoure is healthy

In today's NFL most running games exemplify the proverbial "one-two punch." With Mikel LeShoure finally ready to be the power back Detroit needs him to be and Kevin Smith still on the roster, Best has plenty of weapons to complement him.

Best has yet to be truly challenged for carries or playing time in his career and perhaps this bevvy of rushers could ignite the kind of fire that Monday Night Football seemed to bring out of him last season.

Against the Chicago Bears in Week 5, Best had 163 yards rushing on just 12 carries and found the endzone once.

This is the kind of performance the Detroit knows Best is capable of, and having LeShoure and Smith can only help to bring it out of him more often.


Now do not take what I am saying to mean that Best must become a 1,500 yards rushing kind of guy, but six games and 390 yards is not going to be enough production to warrant a continued starring role.

The Lions desperately need a more balanced attack if they are to improve in 2012.

Ranking 29th in the league and averaging fewer than 100 yards on the ground each week is not going to help a team reach the Super Bowl.

Detroit has been patient with Jahvid Best because of the talent he possesses and the potential heights he could reach.

2012 is the time for him to prove the Lions right.