Detroit Lions: 5 Running Backs That Should Be on Team's Trade Radar
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Lions GM Martin Mayhew has been "making calls looking for a running back" after dealing for cornerback Kevin Barnes on Monday.
The trade interest suggests that the Lions are done scouring the free-agent market for help in what has become a very injury-riddled backfield.
Jahvid Best was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list Monday, meaning he'll miss at least the first six games of the regular season. His NFL career will be on the ropes upon return after suffering a fourth documented concussion last October.
2011 second-rounder Mikel Leshoure is on the comeback trail from a torn Achilles that ended his rookie season, and he'll also be suspended for the first two games after two separate marijuana arrests this offseason.
Kevin Smith has also dealt with recurring ankle injuries, including one that ended his preseason last Saturday. He hasn't played in 16 games since his rookie season.
Despite the injuries, there's doubt as to how much Mayhew would want to give up in a trade for a position that lacks value in the Lions offense. It makes more sense to look at what the Lions could get for a late-round pick instead of focusing on names such as Maurice Jones-Drew or C.J. Spiller.
If Mayhew is in fact looking for help at running back, here's a quick look at some names he should be considering.
Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints
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Ivory to any team needing a running back is an easy connection to make.
For starters, he's a fourth-string back on a team loaded at the position. Barring injury, he'll stay behind Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles in the Saints' pecking order.
However, Ivory is also talented, having rushed for 1,000 yards and six touchdowns over the last two seasons. He carries a career rushing average of 5.0 into the 2012 season.
Still, Ivory is expendable for the Saints. He might cost more than the Lions want to hand over, but he'd be a big part of the solution on a short-term basis.
Anthony Dixon, San Francisco 49ers
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Few backfields in football are as deep and talented as the one in San Francisco, so it's only natural for the Lions to take a look at the bottom part of the 49ers' depth chart to potentially find a match.
Anthony Dixon is one name that sticks out from the bunch.
While more of a plodder with limited receiving skills, Dixon does pack a punch at 235 pounds. He's also never missed a game in two seasons in the NFL, and that durability is something the Lions obviously covet right now.
Dixon still has a legitimate chance at cracking the 49ers' final roster, meaning the Lions would likely need to send a late-round pick out West to get him in Detroit.
For a seventh-rounder, why not?
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
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A first-round pick in 2009, Knowshon Moreno has suffered a fall from grace within the Broncos organization.
At this current juncture, Moreno is slotted as the team's No. 3 back behind Willis McGahee and Lance Ball. There's also 2012 draft pick Ronnie Hillman to consider, too.
Is there enough snaps to go around?
Moreno is still working his way back from ACL surgery performed just nine months prior, so the Lions would have to tread carefully. If close to 100 percent, Moreno could provide another body with a somewhat high upside.
He also played with Matthew Stafford at Georgia, although that wouldn't likely factor at all into the Lions' decision to pursue him.
William Powell, Arizona Cardinals
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The NFL's current preseason rushing yards leader is pushing for a spot as the Cardinals' third running back, but the team still has Alfonso Smith (played in 15 games with one touchdown in 2011) in case it wants to sell high to the Lions before the regular season.
Powell, undrafted out of Kansas State, has rushed for 231 yards, two scores and three 20-yard runs in three games with the Cardinals this preseason.
He has some speed to his game and should be able to handle some passing-down duties. In terms of simply replacing Best, Powell's name has to rank high.
Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots
One surprise name to throw in: Danny Woodhead of the New England Patriots.
Who even knows if the Patriots would consider moving the versatile back, but for the right price, anything is possible with that front office. There's also currently a log jam at the running back position in New England.
If available, Woodhead might represent the best option for simply replacing Best early in 2012.
Like Best, Woodhead can catch the ball out of the backfield. He's also a shifty runner who could handle 50 carries until Best is ready to return.
If the Patriots are willing, there's little reason why the Lions shouldn't at least inquire.