It’s a little early to assume that either player has won the starting running back job for head coach Jim Schwartz in Detroit, but it appears that the Lions are leaning towards first rounder Jahvid Best over Kevin Smith in the early going.
The two running backs complement each other well. Smith, who is coming off a torn ACL injury, is more of an inside runner and at least at this point, is better in pass protection. Best, who missed the final four games of 2009 at Cal with a concussion and a back injury, can flat out fly. He ran a 4.35 at the scouting combine and is an excellent pass catcher.
If both players can rebound from their respective injuries, they could form a decent 1-2 punch in Detroit. Smith was ineffective last year when he was the lead back, but if Best can assume the full-time duties, then maybe the former Central Florida product will become more effective. It’s rare to see teams count on just one back these days, so both players should get plenty of touches in Scott Linehan’s offense.
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