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Peter King: Theo Riddick should get the bulk of carries for Lions in 2017

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Monday Morning Quarterback’s Peter King is off the mark when it comes to his assessment of Detroit’s backfield.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

More offseason power rankings in the middle of May because why not?

Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback released the first half of his two-part power rankings on Monday morning, placing Detroit at No. 17 amongst the rest of the NFL. King hits on the most important beats of the Lions offseason thus far: Swapping out Larry Warford and Riley Reiff for Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang, adding a rookie in Jarrad Davis who should play from the jump and having a general skepticism about whether or not the team can put consistent pressure on the quarterback opposite of Ezekiel Ansah.

Kudos on not making any wildly misguided assumptions or proclamations, Pete. It is May, after all, and conjecture around this time of the offseason can get pretty hairy. This is usually the type of piece that has some bold proclamation discreetly tucked in that could fly by those simply scanning and wondering where their team is being valued against the rest of the league.

Oh, no.

While on this running harangue: Theo Riddick’s a better back than Ameer Abdullah, though Riddick’s not a 275-carry workhorse. But if I’m Jim Caldwell, Riddick would get the bulk of the carries from Week 1 this year.

We almost made it! We were this close to having a national writer completely in step with the views and attitudes of the locals. At least you tried.

Nothing about Theo Riddick’s 2016 season elicited much confidence in his ability as a traditional runner, but that’s never been where he’s earned his keep; Riddick is a dynamic pass-catcher that causes fits for opposing defensive coordinators due to his route running and great hands. His agility and shiftiness is better utilized once he gets the ball in space, not taking the ball from the hands of Matthew Stafford behind the line of scrimmage—where those traits seem to become a detriment.

On his way to averaging just 3.9 yards per carry over the course of last year—a career best for Riddick—rookie Dwayne Washington was given the opportunity as soon as Week 3 to become the Lions primary ball carrier last season—Riddick ran for -10 yards on four carries during Detroit’s opening drive against the Green Bay Packers and finished the day with 10 carries for 9 yards.

The success of Detroit’s running game will rely heavily on the performance of Ameer Abdullah in year three of his NFL career. The foot injury that derailed his promising start to 2016—18 carries for 102 yards in just one and a half games—was tough for him to deal with at times during the season, but Bob Quinn’s appointment of him as the team’s starter is a vote of confidence in both his health and ability.

King mentions that the Lions need to diversify their offense in order to become Super Bowl contenders, and while many will agree with his determination, even more will find his conclusion of Riddick being a better back than Abdullah to be problematic.