I drafted Kerryon Johnson at the end of the first round in a dynasty league over the weekend. He was Detroit's second-round pick, so no big deal that the team signed LeGarrette Blount and still has both Ameer Abdullah and third-down back Theo Riddick. Presumably they'll get the rookie on the field at the expense of one or two of those players.
The problem is that the Lions not only haven't been effective running the ball in recent years, they haven't really committed to it, either.
Jim Bob Cooter has been the Lions offensive coordinator the last two seasons, since taking over midway through 2015. He'll run the offense in 2018, as well. Now maybe the team hasn't had the right personnel at running back or on the line. But no team has paid as little attention to running the ball the last two seasons as Detroit.
Detroit ranked 32nd in rushing last year, and 30th in 2016. They're not good at it. But to climb out of the bottom 3 in rushing you need to put some effort into it, and in those same two seasons, Detroit has ranked 31st in rushing attempts; both years.
|NFL TEAM RUSHING, 2016-2017|
|Team||2016 att||2016 rk||2016 yds||2016 rk||2017 att||2017 rk||2017 yds||2017 rk|
Detroit used its top pick on Frank Ragnow, a center in college who they've been using at guard at OTAs. That should help the blocking up front. Surely the team is aware the offense would be better overall if it pays more attention to the ground game.
But without a commitment to running the ball from the offense, hard to see any back putting up great rushing numbers. So I've got Johnson, but my expectations for 2018 are modest. Might take a year or two before he really pays off.