FanPost

Kevin Smith, or How I learned to be long winded about any topic

 

Nfl_u_smith1_400_medium

 

Drafted with the 64th pick in the 2008 draft, Kevin Smith has been the starting running back since the first game of the fateful 0-16 season. Coming out of the University of Central Florida, Smith was touted as a talented back, with the caveat of having shouldered a massive load of carries during his college career.

 

2007 was a stellar year for the young running back, having set a new NCAA record of 450 rushing attempts (previously held by USC and eventual Raider running back Marcus Allen), culminating in falling only 62 yards shy of toppling ex-Detroit Lion Barry Sanders' collegiate record of 2,628 yards in a single season. His career statistics were staggering: 905 carries for 4,864 yards and 45 touchdowns. He became only the 2nd UCF player in the school's history to recieve Heisman votes (the other being Daunte Culpepper), finishing in 8th place with 55 total points and 3 first place votes.

So why am I rehashing some relatively well-known information about our starting running back? There seems to be a misconception about Kevin Smith that has led many Lions fans to believe that there is some sort of issue with our running back, that he is somehow, a bum. This is a small dissertation intended to debunk that theory.

As I said, Smith was selected with the 64th overall selection in the 2008 draft, becoming the 8th back chosen with the first pick of the third round. Picked before him were notable backs (and future Pro Bowlers) Chris Johnson and Ray Rice, along with Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, and Matt Forte.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Kevin Smith is not on the level that Chris Johnson, or even Ray Rice are on. However, every single running back listed was drafted before (in most cases LONG before) Smith was targeted at the top of the first round. Regardless, he was chosen, and won the starting job with the eventual recipients of the single season loss record, our Detroit Lions. In 2008, with one of the most atrocious offensive lines (and offenses overall), Smith managed to pile up these statistics:

G

GS

Att

Yds

Avg

Long

TDs

Rec

Yds

Avg

Long

TD

    FUM

Lost

16

12

238

976

4.1

50

8

39

286

7.3

27

0

2

1

On arguably the worst team in NFL history, a 3rd round draft pick thrust into starting 12 games managed to get almost 1000 yards on the ground, with another 40 receptions. OK, so he's not Adrian Peterson, but that's none too shabby, especially given the circumstances. Smith kept his head up and his feet moving and turned in a solid rookie season, finishing in the top 20 in the NFL in rushing yards, beating out guys like Ronnie Brown and Brian Westbrook.

In his second year, 2009, Smith played a shortened season due to a shoulder injury and later, a season-ending knee injury. In another 2-14 campaign, Smith's stat line is as follows:

G

GS

Att

Yds

Avg

Long

TDs

Rec

Yds

Avg

Long

TD

    FUM

Lost

13

13

217

747

3.4

31

4

41

415

10.1

63

1

3

2

Once again, nothing extremely spectacular, but with injuries sidelining QB Matthew Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson, and another year of ineptitude on the offensive line, I'd say that another season of over 1000 combined yards isn't too bad. Also, sharing the backfield with rookie Aaron Brown and free-agent acquisition Maurice Morris shaved off some production.

Compiling Smith's first two years in the league gives you the following stat line:

G

GS

Att

Yds

Avg

Long

TDs

Rec

Yds

Avg

Long

TD

   FUM

Lost

29

25

455

1,723

3.8

50

12

80

701

8.8

63

1

5

3

So essentially, in two years of service with our former 3rd round pick, we've recieved one Adrian Peterson-esque rushing season, coupled with a season of a solid slot reciever. Smith is also a very good blocker, and a great locker room influence. He is never heard saying anything other than how confident in our ability to win, and every single play I see him run, he's constantly churning for every extra inch he can possibly get. 

Now imagine if Kevin Smith had a decent offensive line to run behind, or perhaps if our passing game managed to get off the ground (per se) this year. Staying healthy is the biggest concern here, for obvious reasons, but being a 23 year old, world class athlete certainly helps his chances. My opinion is that he will rebound, and continue to improve along with our offense, and regardless of whether we bring in another back, he will be an important cog, as he has been the last two years. 

For all the naysayers, please give me something that backs your belief that K. Smooth is anything less than a solid role player who could lead a two back field. I'd love to hear your reasons.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Pride Of Detroit

You must be a member of Pride Of Detroit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pride Of Detroit. You should read them.

Join Pride Of Detroit

You must be a member of Pride Of Detroit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pride Of Detroit. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker