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 move in order to boost a depleted ground game.
One name that has surfaced is Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon, who just recently returned to the team after a lengthy holdout, may have been replaced already by Austin Ekler. If the Chargers decide they don’t want to pay Gordon, he could soon be on the move, and one analyst already sees the fit in Detroit.
According to Jordan Reid of The Draft Network, Gordon makes sense in Detroit for the Lions as a team fit.
What Gordon Would Bring
There’s been few runners as productive early in their young career as Gordon. With the Chargers, he has put up 3,709 yards and scored 28 touchdowns in a career that’s spanned from 2015 until now. More than that, Gordon has been a tough, physical runner and the type of bruiser back that the Lions have lacked.
Perhaps the only issue with Gordon is what kind of contract would he command in his next location. If the Lions were bold enough to deal for him, it obviously wouldn’t be a concern to them, though, and they would likely think that they could work something out in the days and months ahead.
If the Lions were to trade for Gordon, it would be because they weren’t sure Johnson could be durable enough to shoulder a major load at running back in the wake of back to back knee injuries in 2018 and 2019. Injuries are a reality of the game, though, and Gordon has had his share of struggles there too. Safe to say it would be the biggest, boldest move the team could make in the aftermath of the Johnson injury.
The cost might be steep, but the payoff might be handsome as well for a team which cannot afford to lose a key running back so quickly in the season.
Lions ‘Contenders’ for RB
The Lions have plenty of moves they could make on the surface in order to improve some of the neediest spots on the team. Defensive end is one of their major spots of need given the lack of production there. Spotrac also wisely calls running back a spot of need for the Lions, while listing some options for a move. Unsurprisingly, Gordon was also listed as a possible target there.
Either way, the Lions could figure to make an addition at the position, and some are beginning to connect the dots between the team and one of the better runners that could be had on the market.