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Lions Court: Should the Lions draft a RB or make a play for a big free agent RB?

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The Lions have a running game problem. We debate on how to fix it.

City Bankruptcy Ruling Expected In Detroit Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Welcome Lions fans to the first edition of Lions Court. Today we will be presenting a case for you. Both lawyers will make their statements and try their hardest to sway you, the jury, into voting in their favor. If you feel as though you cannot be an impartial juror in this case, I invite you to leave now.

All rise for the honorable Judge Jeremy Reisman.

Judge Reisman: Alright, gentleman. We are here to discuss the case “Detroit vs. Having a Run Game this Century.” It is my understanding that you, Mike Payton, will be defending the Lions and their right to go out and grab a big free agent running back. Is that correct, Mr. Payton?

Mike Payton: That is correct, your honor.

Judge Reisman: And it is my understanding that you, Alex Reno, hold the belief that spending money on a high-profile back would be a poor choice for Mr. Quinn, and that the Lions should instead seek a back in the NFL Draft. Is that correct, Mr. Reno?

Alex Reno: That is correct, your honor.

Judge Reisman: Thank you gentleman. I ask that you both keep this discussion civil and on topic. Any references to Brian Calhoun will be stricken from the record. Mr. Payton, you can proceed with your opening statement.

Mike Payton Statement

Thank you, your honor. I assure you there will be no mentions of Brian Calhoun in today’s proceedings.

Good morning, ladies and gentleman of the jury. Today’s case is not a case of accidents. This is not a case that should be treated as a first time offense. Oh no. This case should be treated and tried as a repeat offender and should be buried underneath the football jail.

Isn't it true that the Detroit Lions have not had a proper run game since 1998? Isn’t it true that the Lions have not ranked higher than 17th since that time? Lastly, isn’t it true the Lions have wasted a large amount of draft picks on running backs in that time to no avail?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I come here today not to shove past transgressions in your face, but to offer you the answer to your problems. You see, the Lions will enter the offseason with the eighth-highest cap space in the NFL. That’s more than enough money to make a deal with an established Pro Bowl running back.

In fact, the $52+ million that the Lions will carry into the offseason is the most in franchise history. Why not spend that money on a run game that can change the very course of this franchise?

Think about it, ladies and gentlemen. You know how good your quarterback is. You also know your team has a great receiving corps. Imagine adding a Le’Veon Bell to that lineup. The offense becomes much more productive, and Matthew Stafford isn’t left hanging out to dry 40 times a season.

You can have this, Lions fans. This isn’t a wish that can’t come true. The Lions have the money. The Steelers have the worst cap situation in the NFL, and they can’t afford to franchise tag Bell again. He’s walking anyways. Why not come to an offense that’s built like the Steelers with a great quarterback and receiving corps but much younger?

In closing, it’s time for the Lions to take this problem seriously. It’s time for the Lions to go out and get their crown jewel in the backfield. The draft is not the place to find it. If Bob Quinn were interested in such methods, you’d have to wonder why he’s passed on Jordan Howard, Alex Collins, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara and Tarik Cohen.

Alex Reno Statement

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this man claims that he means not to bring past transgressions up, but that is exactly what he’s doing. Sure, the Lions have a poor history of drafting running backs, but what does that have to do with Bob Quinn? Here’s what we know: Of the running backs on the roster, Dwayne Washington, Tion Green and Theo Riddick (signed to a three-year, $11.5 million deal by Quinn) should be considered as “Quinn guys.”

When Quinn arrived in Detroit, he had more pressing needs to take care of, whether it was addressing the trenches on both sides, adding a playmaker on defense or signing a reliable receiver to attempt to replace Calvin Johnson in Marvin Jones Jr. Quinn probably felt like his current stable of backs were capable enough, and he may have been right at the time.

So to me, it’s not that Quinn passed over the players that Mike mentioned above because he doesn’t believe in drafting a running back early on in the draft, but more to do with the fact that the Lions were more desperate to improve other areas on the roster in his first couple of years as general manager.

Now, let’s look at the upcoming draft. You thought last year’s crop of running backs were historically good? Well, I’ve got news for you: This year’s is even better, and it’s not even that close. Drafting a guy like Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice or any other top prospect in the first round may be a stretch, but there is hoard of talented backs that will be available in the second, third, fourth and maybe even fifth round.

Why should the Lions wait until the seventh round or until after the draft to pick up some more scraps just so they can add another guy to their practice squad? Why overspend on a guy like Le’Veon Bell who hasn’t played a full season of football since 2014? Believe me, I’m a huge supporter of Bell and a big fan, but I hate the idea of overpaying for a position with such a short shelf life and a position that has been proven to be replaceable by the best teams in the league.

If you look at the top five rushers in the NFL this year, all five of those players are still on the teams that drafted them. The best teams in the NFL are successful because they know how to draft their skill players. It’s time for the Lions to do the same and join the league’s elite.

Judge Reisman: Thank you, gentleman. Please be seated. Now it is time for jury deliberation. Unlike the inefficient American judicial system, we do not require a unanimous decision. So please consider both arguments above and cast your vote below. Whichever option wins will become law, and Bob Quinn will be forced to act accordingly. That is, if he ever returns my calls.

Poll

How should the Lions address their running game next offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Go after a high-profile RB like Le’Veon Bell (Mike wins)
    (595 votes)
  • 60%
    Draft a RB in Rounds 1-5 (Alex wins)
    (999 votes)
  • 4%
    Don’t add a RB (mistrial)
    (67 votes)
1661 votes total Vote Now