Lions fans are fully aware of the struggles the Lions have had to endure over the years. Truth to be told, they have not had an elite rusher since Barry Sanders left the team. Nonetheless, we have analyzed the last 20 seasons and came up with the best detroit lions running backs history. First, lets begin with a few Honorable Mentions
Kevin Jones was once the number 1 recruit in the nation, before he decided to attend Virginia Tech. In 2003, he posted a stunning 21 touchdowns with 1600 plus rushing yards in his last season before he was picked by the Lions. Jones Enjoyed a very productive rookie season, with 1,133 rush yards and 5 touchdowns. The Injuries would eventually destroy Kevin Jones’s NFL hopes and after 5 seasons he was done.
The Wayne State fan favorite quickly won the hearts of Lions fans. Bell was a D2 stud and won the Harlon Hill Trophy after rushing for over 2,084 yards with 29 touchdowns. Bell bounced around from many teams, but found his success with the Lions. 2013 was a notably season in which Bell rushed for 650 yards and caught 547 yards.
Now the top 5.
5. Cory Schlesinger
Cory was big and nasty on the field. While he was not a running back, he was a hard pounding FB who contributed greatly for Detroit. Cory was a product of the Nebraska Corn huskers and had his biggest moment in 1994 where he scored two 4th quarters touchdowns to secure a national champion. Schlesinger spent 10 years in Detroit, while earning pro bowl honors 3 times to go along with 1,445 receiving yards, 473 rush yards and 14 total touchdowns. For a Full back, this is a great carter and well deserved to make this list.
4. Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush was one of the best college players ever to play D1 football. He enjoyed extreme success at USC and was must watch TV. He was awarded the Heisman Trophy at the end of the 2005 season, with 2,611 all purpose yards and 18 touchdowns. Though he was a great college talent, his of f field actions would tarnish his college legacy, evening losing the Heisman trophy. Despite this, his time in Detroit was productive. 2013 seen him have an excellent season, with 1,006 rushing yards to go with 506 receiving yards. Bush could have had big name potential, but simply could not live up to the hype
3. Kenron Johnson
While still young in his career, he has flashed big potential in his rookie season. His last season at Auburn was a huge success with 1391 rush yards and 20 total touchdowns. His rookie season was going to head well over a 1,000 yards, but a late injury forced him to miss 6 of the last games. Expect great things to come from him.
2. James Stewart
James enjoyed three productive seasons at Detroit, with his first being an all pro season with 1184 rush yards and 10 touchdowns. Injuries would force James to leave the NFL, but his time with the Lions was the best of his career.
1. Jahvid Best
Jahvid was another guy who battled injuries and never had a chance to show his true potential. During his time at Cal, he saw a break out year in 2008 with 1580 rush yards and 15 touchdowns. He was a late first pick for Detroit and through his two seasons at Detroit complied 945 rush yards and 774 receiving yards to go along with 9 touchdowns. Without a doubt, he could have been a great running back for Detroit, if injuries did not force an early exit.