Around the NFL
Schwartz indicates Best still best
Posted May. 31 at 08:59 PM
The Lions' second-round selection of Mikel Leshoure in April's draft has shed a lot of doubt on Jahvid Best's value. Best got off to a fast start as a rookie, then battled through turf-toe injuries and looked fairly pedestrian the rest of the way.
A story in the Detroit News appears to give a hint as to how the roles will work out in Detroit's backfield. According to Jim Schwartz, while Best proved he can be an explosive playmaker when healthy, he "isn't built to be a short-yardage back when there's three minutes left in the game" and you're protecting a seven-point lead." The bigger Leshoure, in contrast, can be that back.
Schwartz saw firsthand how such a tandem can work out in Tennessee, when the Titans gave Chris Johnson the bulk of the work and used LenDale White at the goal line and in other short-yardage situations.
That might not be exactly how things break down -- Leshoure should get a larger role of the offense than White did in his second year of the tandem with Chris Johnson; perhaps more similar to Johnson's rookie season (when White rushed for 773 yards and 15 TDs).
But if that is the blueprint for the Best-Leshoure pairing -- and it seems plausible -- it's reason to suspect that Best will be drafted too late in most leagues, while Leshoure might go a little too high. Best might not do much scoring, but he should still get the (er...) Lion's share of the carries.
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