No Detroit Lions player has been talked up quite as much as running back Theo Riddick this offseason. Despite gaining only 51 yards from scrimmage last year, Riddick has been mentioned by several people as someone who is poised for a breakout season in 2014. Reggie Bush and NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah both view Riddick as a sleeper, and Joique Bell had some high praise for Riddick on Tuesday. From the Free Press:
"His body is in great shape, probably 7% body fat," Bell said. "You see his route running from out the backfield, it's really crisp. He looks like a Reggie (Bush). Just some of the moves you see him do in practice against some of the linebackers. We sit back in the meeting room, we sit back we laugh. He gets them every time with the same move, like you can't stop it. You can't stop it."
Bell went on to say that if Riddick "keeps doing what he's been doing, he'll be a Pro Bowler in no time." That seems like a huge stretch considering Riddick is third on the Lions' depth chart at running back and has only seen a limited amount of playing time, but clearly Riddick's teammates think he has a lot of potential. Just ask Dan Orlovsky, who said on a podcast this week that he thinks Riddick will fill a Darren Sproles type of role for the Lions this year. From the Lions' official site:
"I’m telling you, if he doesn’t get 50 catches this year, I’ll be surprised because he’s going to have opportunities and he’s very talented at it," Orlovsky said. "I think he’s going to play that Sproles role, for sure."
Orlovsky went into even more detail by saying that Riddick is "going to have eight plays a game that are called for him" in the passing game. It's unclear if that's based on what he's heard from the coaches or if that's simply his opinion based on what he's seen this offseason, but there is clearly some kind of a role in place for Riddick.
I'm personally still in the mindset of "I'll believe this hype when I see it on the field," but if nothing else, Riddick has become one of the top players to watch this summer based on how much praise he's received from his teammates.