When I was listening to 97.1 The Ticket earlier today, Doug Karsch and Scott Anderson brought up an interesting question about the Detroit Lions: Who will lead the team in rushing in 2012? Among the choices are Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith, Mikel Leshoure and the always popular "someone not currently on the roster" option.
This is such an intriguing question because there is so much uncertainty at the running back position. Injuries and suspensions are all a factor, as Best hasn't been cleared by doctors to return yet, Smith has had lots of injury issues in the past and Leshoure is coming back from an Achilles injury and is suspended for the first two weeks of the season. To say the least, there are a lot of question marks surrounding these three running backs.
Last year, Best actually ended up leading the Lions in rushing despite only appearing in six games. He finished the season with 390 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and Kevin Smith was right behind him with 356 yards and four touchdowns in seven games.
For 2012, it's almost impossible to predict who will lead the Lions in rushing just because there are so many question marks. Will Best be cleared? How long will it take Leshoure to get up to game speed? How will he look when he finally makes his NFL debut? Can Kevin Smith stay healthy over the course of an entire season? Will someone like Joique Bell emerge as a viable option in the backfield for the Lions? These are the questions the Lions' running backs are facing headed into the 2012 season.
If I had to guess, I would go with Smith right now just based on how he looked when he came back last season. I'm fully aware that he's had a tough time staying healthy in the past, but I can't go with Best considering he hasn't even been cleared yet, and let's not forget that Leshoure hasn't even played a game in the NFL. The option of choosing somebody not even currently on the team is actually pretty enticing given who is out there on the free agent market, but I have the most confidence in Smith right now.
Who do you like to lead the Lions in rushing in 2012?