Theo Riddick to Lions: How Does Running Back Fit in Detroit?

Brandon AlisogluCorrespondent IApril 27, 2013

September 15, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Theo Riddick (6) finds a seam in the Michigan State Spartans defense during the 2nd half at Spartan Stadium. Norte Dame won 20-3    Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With Jahvid Best still on the roster, it would seem the Detroit Lions already had a backup plan in case Reggie Bush goes down. But we all know that's fool's gold. Therefore, the Lions nabbed Notre Dame running back Theo Riddick in the seventh round.

Detroit already had a pretty crowded backfield before the draft. Is there any room for Riddick on the field?



Obviously, franchises don't select players who they don't think can contribute. But that doesn't mean that each player goes the traditional route. 

Riddick's biggest impact for Detroit will come in the return game. Despite his lack of straight-line speed (4.68 40-yard dash), he's extremely explosive when changing direction and can burst through seams.

He returned kickoffs every year for the Fighting Irish, ending with 47 returns for his career. He only returned one punt during the same three years, so it's unclear if he has the ability to do so.

Bush, Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell don't need to start worrying about their carries. While Riddick was an effective running back in college (4.8 yards per carry), he isn't on the same level as a rusher. 

Riddick could someday take over for Bush in terms of catching the ball out of the backfield and picking up bonus yards on dumpoffs. However, it wouldn't be surprising if the Lions have a different plan in mind. 

The only thing certain about Riddick's role is that it won't be restricted to a singular position. To do so would waste his greatest attribute: versatility. 


Early Projections

Riddick is going to be used as a curveball that Scott Linehan dials up when he wants to change things up. Therefore, there won't be much in terms of production, so your fantasy football roster shouldn't keep a spot open for him unless there are four or five injuries.

In short, he'll hopefully be a more effective Stefan Logan. 

Logan returned kicks, punts and occasionally lined up with the offense at running back or in the slot. Riddick should handle the returning duties, but he'll get no more than one or two plays on offense per game, if that.


Stats: 43 KO returns, 1,150 returns yards