As we start to look ahead to training camp, we're going to take a position-by-position look at the Detroit Lions roster. Next up is the running back position. (The final year of each player's contract is listed in parentheses.)
Back from last season: Joique Bell (2016), Theo Riddick (2016), George Winn (2015)
New to the team: Ameer Abdullah (2018), Zach Zenner (2017), Desmond Martin (2017)
Going into training camp, running back is one of the more intriguing positions on the roster. I say that because Joique Bell missed the Lions' OTAs and minicamp after having offseason surgery, giving second-round pick Ameer Abdullah a big opportunity to impress his new coaches. Bell is expected to be the starter when he returns to the practice field, but Abdullah may force his way into the backfield on a regular basis a lot sooner than most probably expected. Of course, the label of "starter" or "backup" may not mean a whole lot with how much the Lions could rotate their running backs, but seeing their roles develop in training camp will be interesting.
It will also be interesting to see how Theo Riddick factors into the picture at running back. His best attribute seems to be making plays in the passing game, so perhaps the Lions will give him more work in the slot this season as they look to get their offense rolling. I suppose it's not out of the question that Riddick could be on the field at the same time as Bell or Abdullah depending on what packages the Lions put together for him.
Continuing down the depth chart, there's likely one more spot up for grabs between George Winn and undrafted free agents Zach Zenner and Desmond Martin. Winn is the early favorite for that spot simply because he found his way onto the roster last year with excellent work on special teams. He also showed some potential when called upon as an actual running back, so Zenner and Martin will really have to impress this summer to take Winn's spot.
Need going forward?
Injuries are pretty much a given at running back, so I could see the Lions bringing in a veteran at this position to add some extra depth. It also wouldn't be surprising to see an extra camp body or two just to increase the competition with Winn and the two undrafted free agents.