Detroit Lions Training Camp Profile: Theo Riddick

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions made a seemingly pedestrian acquisition in this April’s 2013 NFL Draft when they scooped up RB/WR Theo Riddick late in the sixth round.

Riddick played college ball with the almighty Notre Dame Fighting Irish for four seasons (the final three under head coach Brian Kelly) where he never really made a significant impact until his senior year in 2012. Splitting time as a starter, the young speedster was still able to amass 917 rushing yards along with 370 receiving yards in 2012, while also cashing in on 7 total touchdowns (5 rushing).

Even though Riddick struggled with production early on with the Irish, it has been clear the whole time that the kid harnesses some seriously exceptional athletic ability. After playing running back as a freshman, Riddick made the switch to slot receiver during his sophomore and junior seasons, before returning to the tailback spot for his senior campaign.

The first time I witnessed the NFL newcomer’s jaw-dropping escapability was in the fall of 2006, when my North Hunterdon (NJ) Lions faced off against Riddick and his Immaculata (NJ) Spartans. Riddick’s superior acceleration and explosive running ability was immediately apparent to all in attendance, as the young burner and his Spartans rolled to victory in a blow-out fashion.

Heading into training camp, the Lions are expected to evaluate Riddick as a runner and receiver, with their starting running back spot almost certainly solidified with the addition of RB Reggie Bush. There are also big question marks among the Lions’ wide receiving corps, with the unquestioned NFL-best WR Calvin Johnson being an obvious exception, so Riddick may be able to see more playing time as a slot receiver.

For all of those obsessively superstitious NFL fans out there, just note that Riddick was selected with the 199th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.

New England Patriots perennial All-Pro, poster-boy QB Tom Brady was also drafted at 199th overall in 2000, as he was expected to do very little in the NFL.

 

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