X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NFL Detroit Lions

Ranking The 5 Greatest RBs In Detroit Lions History

1 of 11
NEXT

Ranking The 5 Greatest RBs In Detroit Lions History

Reggie Bush  Lions
Getty Images

Ranking the best running backs of all-time is something that many have done, but few are the exact same. The criteria used by different people could include on-field achievements, statistical rankings, or even success in the postseason. When evaluating the best Detroit Lions running backs of all-time, it is clear to see why the Lions have had such a rich history at the position. Here now are my five greatest RBs in Lions history.

5. Nick Pietrosante

Detroit Lions
Getty Images

5. Nick Pietrosante

Detroit Lions
Getty Images

Nick Pietrosante was a very good fullback in Detroit, and still stands at third in rushing touchdowns in franchise history with 28. Pietrosante also ranks fifth in rushing yards with 3,933 despite playing more than 50 years ago. Pietrosante set the then-franchise record for single-season rushing yards in 1960 with 872 and had 841 yards in 1961 despite being listed as a fullback. Pietrosante also went to two Pro Bowls.

4. Dexter Bussey

Detroit Lions
Getty Images

4. Dexter Bussey

Detroit Lions
Getty Images

Dexter Bussey was a steady and consistent performer for the Lions for each of his 11 NFL seasons. Bussey often gets overlooked, even though he still ranks third in rushing history behind two great No. 20s. Bussey was named the team's offensive MVP in 1975, and led the team in rushing in four seasons. Bussey retired as Detroit’s all-time leading rusher with 5,105 yards in 1984. His 18 touchdowns ranks 13th in team history.

3. Doak Walker

Doak Walker SMU
Getty Images

3. Doak Walker

Doak Walker SMU
Getty Images

Despite only playing six seasons in Detroit, Walker was a key player who helped the team win their first two NFL Championships in the 1950's. As a rookie, Walker led the league in points with 128. Walker, in fact, would finish in the top three in scoring in each of his six seasons. Walker's 534 career points still ranks fifth in team history. Walker made five Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

2. Billy Sims

Billy Sims Lions
Getty Images

2. Billy Sims

Billy Sims Lions
Getty Images

Billy Sims' career was cut to only five seasons due to injuries, but in those five seasons, Sims was one of the best running backs in the NFL. Sims ran for over 1,000 yards in three of his five seasons, and ranks second in team history with 5,106 yards and 42 touchdowns. Sims was a Pro Bowler in his first three seasons, and helped the Lions make the postseason in 1982 and 1983.

1. Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders Lions
Getty Images

1. Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders Lions
Getty Images

The conversation for the greatest Lions running back of all-time starts and stops with Barry Sanders. Sanders was not just the greatest in team history, but was one of the greatest to ever play the position. In each of his 10 NFL seasons, Sanders had over 1,000 yards rushing, surpassing 1,500 yards five times, including an NFL record four straight seasons from 1994-97. Sanders retired as the second all-time leading rusher with 15,269 yards.