Lions Add New Running Back to Roster

Paul Perkins

Getty Paul Perkins runs with the Giants.

The Detroit Lions have made a move to add a running back to the roster, but the player is not coming from outside of the organization just yet.

Detroit revealed that they were calling up running back Paul Perkins from the practice squad to fill a roster spot on Wednesday. Perkins was signed by the team in September after being released by the New York Giants. Perkins spent parts of three seasons with the Giants before finally getting his walking papers this year. After that point, he was added to Detroit’s practice squad, where he has spent time ahead of his call up to the team.

The Lions are looking for help and depth after Kerryon Johnson went down with another knee injury and was forced to go on injured reserve this week. Obviously, they believe Perkins can help contribute those elements to the team in the short term to compensate for the loss of the starter.

What Perkins Brings

A tough runner out of UCLA, Perkins is a guy who has shown an ability to make some plays and grind out yards before, even if he hasn’t done it consistently in the NFL to this point in time. With the Giants, Perkins has seen some playing time and has run for 546 total NFL yards while catching 23 passes for 208 yards as a receiver. Those are not dynamic numbers associated with a break out, but clearly, the Lions believe Perkins can help them in the short term given the injury chaos at running back.

At the very least, Perkins is a young 24 years old, and brings a little bit of NFL experience with him to the role. Perkins was way more productive in college, with 29 touchdowns and 3,488 yards while playing for the Bruins.

Outside Move Still Needed

One of the biggest spots of need comes at running back, where the Lions watched Kerryon Johnson hit the IR yet again with another knee injury. Now that Johnson is gone for a while, the Lions will have to respond given their roster is dotted with inconsistent bit parts. Ty Johnson is a rookie and has never shouldered a major backfield load, while J.D. McKissic is more of a pass catching back rather than a north and south runner.

While Matt Patricia has maintained the Lions could roll with a committee approach, it’s not wise to entrust Detroit’s backfield to a rookie and a player who is more accustomed to catching the rock than running with it. Instead, the Lions likely need to look outside the organization for a more dynamic move in order to boost a depleted ground game

With the Perkins move, it appears the Lions will give the first crack at the running game to the trio of Perkins, Johnson and McKissic. While all of them bring good elements in spots, it’s still true that the Lions could need another move, particularly if these guys can’t get the job done.

Detroit’s roster stands at 52, so it’s possible there is another player added in order to compensate from outside the house.

For now, Perkins is on the roster and ready to compete. The Lions will need him to show something given the trouble they have had with consistency on the ground minus the contributions of their injured young running back.

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