Has Joique Bell passed Mikel Leshoure on Lions depth chart?

USA TODAY Sports

Could Joique Bell be the Detroit Lions' No. 2 running back this year?

When the Detroit Lions made their pitch to Reggie Bush earlier this offseason, they reportedly offered him the starting job at running back. In the time since Bush actually joined the Lions, it's become clear that he is in fact slated to be the team's primary running back over Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell. Chances are all three players will be involved with the offense on a regular basis, but Bush is currently projected to be listed as the starter.

With Bush becoming the starter, Leshoure has in turn moved down the depth chart. What's not clear right now is just how far Leshoure has moved down the depth chart. Back when Bush signed, the belief was that Leshoure would be his backup, but might Bell actually be second on the depth chart at running back? As pointed out by Rotoworld's Evan Silva, the Free Press' Dave Birkett wrote this a week ago:

Bell was the second running back in the Lions’ rotation throughout minicamp, behind Reggie Bush and ahead of Mikel Leshoure.

It's important to note that the Lions don't necessarily have an actual depth chart at this point in the offseason. Even once training camp starts, Jim Schwartz will stress that there isn't an official depth chart. Things like who is starting and who is the primary backup at certain positions will be worked out over the course of camp, and until the 53-man roster is established, the Lions won't have a definitive depth chart.

That disclaimer aside, it is interesting that Bell worked ahead of Leshoure in the Lions' rotation during their minicamp last week. Bell put together an impressive 2012 season with 5.0 yards per carry and 9.3 yards per reception, and he's had an outstanding offseason, according to Schwartz. Leshoure, on the other hand, rushed for 3.7 yards per carry and had 6.3 yards per reception last season, and hamstring issues forced him to miss some of the Lions' OTAs this offseason.

It's far too early to officially slot Bell in ahead of Leshoure on the depth chart, but this is yet another storyline that will be worth watching when training camp arrives next month.

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