To open the second day of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Lions traded up to the third-round's first pick. Detroit gave up a sixth-round pick to move up two spots, allowing them to draft Central Florida running back Kevin Smith. The reason the Lions moved up was because they were worried St. Louis would draft Smith as he once met with the Rams. Originally I didn't get that move at all, but it makes much more sense now, especially since the player Detroit drafted was Kevin Smith.
Smith made a name for himself at Central Florida last year as he threatened college football's single-season rushing record. That record is actually held by Hall of Famer and former Detroit Lion Barry Sanders, and Smith came within 61 yards of breaking it. Smith's remarkable season ended with over 2500 yards rushing, 29 touchdowns, and 450 carries. Most college running backs would be lucky to do that in a few seasons led alone one.
Out of all the picks made by the Lions in this year's draft, this one is by far my favorite. I don't want to start cutting down Tatum Bell before we even get to May, but I have a feeling we'll see Smith play quite a bit this season. Just looking at his numbers will tell you he is ready to play, and I don't really want to hear about the fact that he played in Conference USA. Sure, it's a smaller conference and a smaller school, but UCF played Texas last season and Smith rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
Here is what Scouts Inc. had to say about Smith:
Smith can dance in the backfield too much and he's a little bit of an upright runner, so he takes some big hits. However, he does an excellent job of reading his blocks and shows good burst in the hole. He also has good vision and enough lateral mobility to make defenses pay when they overpersue.
I'll have more analysis on Smith and the other picks made this weekend throughout next week.