2012 NFL Draft: Why the Detroit Lions Need to Draft a Running Back

Anthony DinsmoreContributor IIDecember 27, 2011

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 24:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions hands off the football to teammate Maurice Morris #28 during a NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Lions won 38-10 (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Injuries have certainly been an issue this year for the Detroit Lions.  Safety Louis Delmas has been out for a while, Matthew Stafford played with a broken finger and most importantly, running back Jahvid Best suffered a season-ending concussion.

There is a possibility that Best's career is over.  He's has a history of concussions, and his family is really concerned about his safety.  If a concussion is serious enough, it can have effects on victims for the rest of their lives.

Even when the Lions had Best, their running game was still very poor.  Keiland Williams and Maurice Morris were taking the snaps in Best's absence and making very little contributions during games. 

The Lions did bring back Kevin Smith, who has shown a little promise. 

The Lions running backs have had bigger roles on the team as receivers more than anything.  Matthew Stafford has recently been in the habit of checking down to his running backs too much.  The more screen passes he throws, the more likely the pass goes for a loss of yards.

The Lions have also used slant passes to wide receivers as an alternate to a running game.  Opposing teams will have at least two guys covering Calvin Johnson on just about every passing play. 

Stafford does have some reliable alternative receivers in Nate Burleson and Titus Young. 

In order to spread out their game plan next year, the Lions need a young first-round talent to complement Kevin Smith.  Miami RB Lamar Miller is predicted to be a late first-round pick—which is where the Lions are going to fall in the draft.  Miller would most certainly make the Lions offense less predictable. 

Stafford can't be throwing over 50 passes every game.  This isn't college football.

The Lions are on their way to becoming a premiere team.  Drafting Miller, or any running back in the first round would put them even closer to becoming an excellent team.