NFL Draft pundits graded Mikel Leshoure as a supposed steal when he was selected No. 57 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Leshoure could not have asked for a better situation, joining an offense that already had great playmakers in Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Leshoure was supposed to be the beneficiary from opposing defenses scheming towards stopping Stafford and Johnson. Much like most of the Lions franchise history, high expectations turned into an equal level of disappointment.
Leshoure was supposed to be the next Kevin Jones or the next Jahvid Best, the highly drafted franchise running back that could be in the discussion as the next Barry Sanders.
After being injured in his 2011 rookie season and being suspended for the first two games of the regular season in 2012 for off-field behavior, Leshoure gained a respectable 798 yards on 215 carries and was their best short-yardage runner, scoring nine touchdowns with most being goal-to-go situations.
Things drastically changed in 2013. The Lions signed former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, and then third-string running back Joique Bell emerged out of nowhere as an undrafted journeyman who bounced around the league before settling in Detroit.
Whether the scheme did not fit Leshoure’s playing style or Bell and Bush were just better, Mikel Leshoure’s 2013 season never got started. It got so bad in Detroit that Leshoure only suited up in three games with only two carries to show for it.
So, what is Mikel Leshoure’s value? With a new coaching staff coming into Detroit, they may already have the answer to this question. As far as I’m concerned, if I were a GM considering signing Leshoure I would only spend a fifth-round pick or later with the right locker room people that can keep him straight. Only when the talent and behavior mesh together will Mikel Leshoure get a serious look from other potential suitors.