It seems quite clear at this point that the Detroit Lions are interested in adding some running back talent to their roster. Not only is Matt Asiata going to be trying out during next week’s rookie minicamp. Not only are they one of two teams in the mix for LeGarrette Blount. But they’ve also reportedly signed at least one UDFA running back (Tion Green) and will be trying out two others (Bradley Mitchell and Jonah Hodges).
But, for now, let’s focus on the two free agent targets. Blount is coming off a year where he led the league in touchdowns, but is on the wrong side of 30 and remains mysteriously unsigned. Asiata is coming off one of his worst years, but he was also running behind one of the worst offensive lines in 2016 and still managed six rushing touchdowns. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which running back would you prefer the Lions to sign: LeGarrette Blount or Matt Asiata?
My answer: Blount. I’m not really overly attached to either of these guys, and even if the Lions do end up signing one of these players, there’s no guarantee they end up making it to the final 53-man roster this year. After all, look at this stat provided by Pro Football Focus on Wednesday:
Lions have been linked to veteran RBs LeGarrette Blount & Matt Asiata, but Zach Zenner was better than both at creating yards after contact. pic.twitter.com/F2aSdUOwhi— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 3, 2017
Blount certainly comes with his downsides. He’s had some personality issues in his past, including a highly-televised sucker punch in college. He was also promptly released from the Steelers after leaving the field early during a Monday night game in 2014. He’ll likely be a little more expensive than Asiata, too.
But it would be worth it. Blount isn’t a game-changer or anything, but he would be the best short-yardage back the Lions have had in quite some time. Blount was 18th among all running backs in DVOA in 2016, higher than the likes of Latavius Murray, Tevin Coleman and Ryan Mathews. And much higher than Asiata, who ranked just 32nd. Even though he’ll be pricier than Asiata, he shouldn’t cost more than $2 million or so for a year of service.
Blount is a touchdown machine, and while he’s unlikely to replicate his season-leading performance from last year, he could give the Lions a much-needed boost in the red zone.
Which running back would you like to see the Lions sign?
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