It was no secret that the Detroit Lions were looking to address the question marks at running back during this year’s draft. They were mainly targeting an explosive playmaker that can threaten the defense. Other than CJ Spiller the next best running back to fit that mold was Jahvid Best. The Lions traded back into the first round and selected Best #30 overall. I have some concerns that Best can fill the Lion’s need.
Best is an extremely talented player and has considerable potential. While at California Best demonstrated his big play ability. During his breakout campaign in 2008 he rushed for 1,580 and 15 touchdowns. He had touchdown runs of 80, 86, and 67 yards while averaging 8.1 yards per carry. During the 2008 season Best lead the Pac-10 in rushing and had NFL scouts drooling over his potential. In 2009 Best rushed for 867 yards and 12 touchdowns while making 22 receptions, 213 yards, and 4 touchdowns. His 2009 season was cut short due to concussions.
There is no doubting the extreme potential of Jahvid Best; however, I have concerns about his durability. During his career at Cal Best missed a total of 5 games and all of spring practice his Junior season. He ended his time at Cal not playing due to back to back concussions. Best has average size and weight but his aggressive running style is what leaves him open for big hits. It’s hard to knock a player for giving it his all on every play but fighting for extra yards takes a toll on your body. Best’s season high carry total was 194, in comparison last year’s carry leader was Chris Johnson with 358 carries. I don’t think that the Lions intend on Best being the sole ball carrier but he could expect at least 200 carries. The uncertainty of running back Kevin Smith should be a concern because that will mean added carries for Best.
If Smith isn’t ready for this season Best will share carries with Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown. If Best cannot stay healthy he will disappoint a lot of Lions fans. The last thing this team needs is another talented running back that cannot stay healthy. Kevin Jones and Kevin Smith are the most recent Lions running backs that struggled with health. I suspect there will be little patience for this year’s 1st round pick.