This week, after working them out, the Lions signed former third-round pick Kevin Smith and three-time Pro Bowl guard Leonard Davis to one-year deals. In this article, I will examine the possible effects of these two players.
Kevin Smith is a 24-year-old running back out of UCF. He set many college records and was 62 yards shy of breaking Barry Sanders yardage record. He was drafted by Detroit in 2008 and immediately made an impact.
Smith came very close to running for 1,000 yards in his first season and caught 39 passes. The next two years he slowly fell out of favor through injuries and limited productivity. With Jahvid best in town, he became unnecessary. He was not tendered this offseason and became a free agent.
With the struggles the Lions have in the running game, he could make a difference quickly. If he is in good shape, he could become a factor.
He is already familiar with the offense and clearly has talent. If Best is out for the season, look for Smith to be a very solid pickup as he tries to ressurrect his career.
Leonard Davis is a player who has started all 155 games he has played in in his career. He was cut by the Cowboys in the offseason in order to clear salary cap space.
Davis was the second overall pick in 2001 by the Cardinals and has since been to three Pro Bowls. Davis is a studly run blocker, but he is definitely getting slower as his age catches up to him.
I don't see him making much of an impact on the Lions unless Peterman goes down or becomes extremely unproductive. However, Davis provides good depth for a team that does not have a single true backup guard.
Altogether, Davis could improve the running game if given a chance. His main weakness is that he is known to be a below average pass blocker at best.
These two players are solid depth signings by Martin Mayhew. While they may not make an immediate impact, either of these guys could help out in the long run. Who knows, maybe Mayhew has struck gold with another square peg.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think the effect of these players on the 2011 Lions will be.