RB Jahvid Best insists that he will be back next season, but the Lions aren't holding their collective breath. Anwar S. Richardson of MLive.com reports that Detroit interviewed Washington RB Chris Polk, Ohio State RB Daniel Herron and Boise State RB Doug Martin during this week's Senior Bowl preparations in Mobile, Ala.
According to Martin, the Lions' interest was palpable.
"They had everybody there," Martin said. "I came in with a little butterflies. It's kind of intimidating when you have all the guys around there, looking at you and writing stuff down. I think it went really well. They are great people."
Martin is coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards. He's also a talented receiver and, according to Richardson, showed off his ability to pick up blitzes and get downfield for the Lions. Herron came back strong after missing the first six games of Ohio State's season due to NCAA sanctions, averaging 5.0 yards. In his last full season, he had 1,155 rushing yards and found the endzone 16 times. Polk had the best average of the three running backs, at 5.1 yards per rush, and finished with 1,488 rushing yards on the season.
The way we see it
Detroit already has plenty of potential talent at running back with Best, former Fighting Illini RB Mikel Leshoure and Kevin Smith, but all three have struggled with injury issues, and many in the organization are apparently concerned that Best might never play again due to concussion issues. The team used its second-round pick on Leshoure in the 2011 draft, but he sustained a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon in the preseason. The numbers he posted in Champaign were better than those of any of the aforementioned backs the Lions are currently considering in the draft. He rushed for 1,697 yards and 17 touchdowns in his junior season, averaging 6.0 yards.
Smith hasn't played a full season since 2008 and has played in only 13 games combined over the past two campaigns, although he wasn't re-signed to the roster this past season until Nov. 7, missing one game after that. Best, the Lions' first-round pick in 2010, had 650 total yards in six games this season but missed the rest of the season following Detroit's Oct. 16 loss to San Francisco with post-concussion symptoms.