It’s no secret the Detroit Lions have been scurrying to fill key positions this season. Between injuries and suspensions, the Lions have been a little light when it comes to who is able to stand in the backfield on the defense and who is going to run the ball for the offense. But, it also appears the Lions are looking to improve their depth with running backs this week. Unconfirmed reports say Steve Slaton is going to work out with the Lions in the upcoming week.
According to Twitter:
Lions, who as i have been reporting looking to beef up at RB, will work out Steve Slaton next week. Slaton worked out for Bears today
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 16, 2012
This is very interesting because if the Lions did choose to sign Slaton, someone else on the roster has to go. Who could potentially be on the chopping block?
Mikel Leshoure is serving his last week of suspension with today’s game. He had to sit out the first two regular season games because of two drug violations but can practice and play in next week’s game. The last two preseason games showed he can run and score. However, he might be prone to injuries. A torn Achilles tendon forced him to miss out on his rookie season last year and then a hamstring pull kept him on the sidelines for much of training camp this year. Leshoure needs an excellent week of practice without injury to stay in Detroit.
Kevin Smith scored two touchdowns in week one. He proved he can be the go to man when the pressure is on – if he is healthy. The Lions were willing to let him go as an unrestricted free agent in 2011, until Jahvid Best suffered his second concussion. The Lions then re-signed him in November, knowing they needed running backs and he could do the job. His past of sitting out with injuries could be a reason to let him go.
Joique Bell scored a TD in week one, so he proved he can step in and be a powerful force. The disadvantage for Bell is that he is low man on the totem pole and could be let go simply because he doesn’t have a history – of injury or scoring or otherwise – with the Lions to go on. Bell has roots in Michigan as he attended Wayne State University, also in Detroit, which could be in his favor as he has proclaimed a true love and respect for the team he is practicing and playing with.
Keiland Williams has one season under his belt with the Lions and it was a mediocre year. He had two rushing touchdowns and averaged 3.4 yards in his 58 carries for the year. The one big positive is that he has stayed healthy and played in 15 games during last season, which is more than a couple of the other running backs combined.
Jahvid Best is still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. The outlook for him returning this season remains bleak.
If someone is going to be cut, it doesn’t appear to be a clear cut choice. Slaton will have to demonstrate he can bring something to the table that the others can’t or don’t in order to be added.