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Detroit Lions roster review: Running back

A look back at how the Detroit Lions' running backs performed in 2012.


As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2012. Next up is our look at the Detroit Lions' running backs.

Mikel Leshoure - 14 games (14 starts) | 215 carries, 798 yards, 9 TD | 34 receptions, 214 yards, 0 TD | 3 lost fumbles

After returning from his two-game suspension, Leshoure showed why the Lions were so excited about him before he suffered a season-ending injury in 2011. Leshoure gave the Lions a different dynamic in their run game with his bruising running style. He also gave them a big boost down by the goal line, scoring numerous times in goal-to-go situations. While his vision could use some work, Leshoure showed a lot of potential and figures to be a part of the Lions' stable of backs for years to come.

Joique Bell - 16 games (0 starts) | 82 carries, 414 yards, 3 TD | 52 receptions, 485 yards, 0 TD | 2 lost fumbles

Bell earned a spot on the roster in the preseason and then had a breakout regular season. He emerged as a "closer" type of running back early in the season, and he got more and more work as the year progressed. Bell even looked better than Leshoure at times, and his ability to catch passes really helped the Lions offense. Like Leshoure, Bell figures to be a part of the Lions' stable of backs for years to come.

Kevin Smith - 12 games (2 starts) | 37 carries, 134 yards, 1 TD | 10 receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD | 0 lost fumbles

Smith's playing time essentially disappeared once Leshoure returned from his suspension. That, along with Bell's emergence, took Smith out of the Lions' rotation at running back. He only had 19 yards rushing on 8 carries in the final 14 games of the season, and while I did think he should have been used more, his lack of playing time was simply the flip side of Leshoure and Bell impressing the coaches.

Stefan Logan - 16 games (0 starts) | 3 carries, 17 yards, 0 TD | 6 receptions, 28 yards, 0 TD | 28 kick returns, 21.3 average, 0 TD | 33 punt returns, 9.1 average, 0 TD | 2 lost fumbles

In the offense, Logan didn't do a whole lot until receivers started dropping like flies. At that point, he actually did show some potential as someone who can catch and run the ball. On special teams, however, Logan was a disaster. He failed to produce much of anything on kick and punt returns, and he really hurt the Lions quite a bit. He cost them field position by misjudging fair catches, and he also muffed several punts. Him taking a knee at the 4-yard line in Week 16 finally got him benched, but it was really a decision that should have been made much earlier in the season.

Shaun Chapas - 3 games (1 start) | 0 carries, 0 yards, 0 TD | 1 reception, 6 yards, 0 TD | 0 lost fumbles

The Lions added Chapas to the offense toward the end of the season and actually did utilize him as a true fullback. I'm not sure if this is an indication that the Lions are planning to make the fullback part of their offense again, but Chapas seemed to do a decent job when given a chance to play.

Jahvid Best - spent entire season on PUP list

Best was unable to get cleared by doctors to return from the concussion that ended his 2011 season early. As a result, he spent the entire 2012 season on the PUP list. This was a big blow to the Lions' offense, as Martin Mayhew admitted this week that he didn't have a backup plan ready to go. The lack of a big-play threat coming out of the Lions' backfield really hurt the offense.

Jerome Harrison - spent entire season on non-football illness list

Harrison missed the 2012 season while continuing to recover from a brain tumor that was discovered in 2011. CBS provided an update on Harrison on Thanksgiving.

Previously: Quarterback

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