Lions Pegged a Candidate to Pursue Super Bowl Champion RB

Dan Campbell

Getty NFL draft expert Russell Brown suggested the Detroit Lions could pursue Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers in a trade.

The Detroit Lions lost to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. But perhaps more importantly, the Lions lost a collection of key players to injury, one of which was running back David Montgomery.

The Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett reported after the game that Montgomery said in the locker room following the loss that his injury “could take a couple weeks” to heal. Montgomery, who sustained a thigh bruise during the second half against the Seahawks, did not elaborate any further.

With the potential for Montgomery to miss a couple games, NFL draft analyst Russell Brown suggested the Lions could explore trading for a veteran running back. One potential target is Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers.

A former 2020 second-round pick, Akers has rushed for 1,443 yards in 30 career NFL games. Last season, he had 786 rushing yards, 117 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.

In 2021, Akers was Los Angeles’ leading rusher during the postseason on the way to a Super Bowl title.

David Montgomery’s Timetable to Return

Whether the Lions are interested in trading for any running back directly depends on the severity of Montgomery’s injury.

While Birkett implied Montgomery may be back from the thigh bruise faster than two weeks, ESPN’s Adam Schefter had a slightly differ take.

“Lions’ RB David Montgomery, who did not finish Sunday’s game and was limping after, told reporters it would take ‘a couple weeks’ for his quad injury to heal,” Schefter wrote in a Twitter post.

Schefter using the phrase “would take” instead of “could take” indicates the veteran running back won’t be at full strength for the rest of September.

Montgomery has been a major part of Detroit’s offense through the first two weeks. He had 21 carries in the season opener and despite not playing in the fourth quarter, Montgomery had 16 carries during Week 2.

The Lions have rookie Jahmyr Gibbs, who can play more in Montgomery’s absence. But the drop off in skill level on Detroit’s depth chart after Gibbs is significant.

Craig Reynolds helped fill in for Montgomery during the fourth quarter on September 17. Reynolds rushed for 7 yards on 3 carries.

The Lions will play two games in the next 10 days because of a Thursday Night matchup against the Green Bay Packers during Week 4. As of September 18, it sounds as if Montgomery has about a 50-50 chance to play in that pivotal division contest.

How Cam Akers Could Fit With the Lions

Akers has experienced a roller coaster tenure with the Rams.

He starred as a rookie, rushing for 625 yards and scored 3 touchdowns in 2020. But Akers tore an Achilles tendon during training camp in 2021.

Incredibly, though, Akers returned before the regular season ended. He then led the team in rushing during the postseason.

But last year, his relationship with the Rams grew strained. Akers didn’t play a lot to begin the 2022 season, which led to him apparently requesting a trade and a subsequent benching in October.

Then in early November, Akers denied requesting a trade and returned to the team to play well during the second half of the season.

Akers started and had 22 carries in Week 1, but he was inactive during Week 2. That leaves his future with the team very much in doubt.

If the Lions really only need Akers for two games because Montgomery’s thigh bruise is a short-term injury, then the trade compensation for Akers would likely have to be low for the Lions to be interested. However, that could very well be the case with Akers. His departure from the Rams has arguably been coming for some time.

Akers could give Detroit additional depth in the backfield behind Gibbs. While Montgomery is potentially out, Akers would become the team’s most-proven option in the backfield, which the Lions have preferred using early this season.

While Gibbs is a first-round talent, he’s only had 14 carries through two games with mixed results. In Week 2, the Lions also involved Gibbs in the passing game with 9 targets.

Going into the Week 3 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons with Gibbs and Reynolds as the projected ball carries is less than ideal for Detroit. That’s what makes a trade for a running back such as Akers possible.

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Patrick Cooper
Patrick Cooper
7 days ago

A thigh bruise?