The NFL season has come to an end for 2016, but unlike any of the three other major sports, the NFL off-season is just as busy as the regular campaign. Between the NFL Draft, mini-camps, rookie camps, and several other off-season activities, the NFL never really shuts down.
Of the four major draft processes in sports, the NFL Draft is by far and wide the most popular. Fans will get together with family and friends just to see who their favorite team is selecting and hoping that the new guys will be just what their squad needs to make it to a NFL championship.
For the Detroit Lions and their fans, just making the playoffs has become almost as exciting as getting into the Super Bowl.
The Lions have yet to win a Super Bowl. In fact, they haven’t even made it to the big game. However, under Jim Caldwell, they have made the postseason two of the last three years and have been playing some decent football, but decent doesn’t cut it if you are a die-hard Lions fan.
The Lions, along with the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles are the only teams left to taste a championship.
That being said, the NFL Draft is a big deal in Motown.
Who will the Lions draft this April? That can be debated amongst friends forever, but it is clear to most Detroiters that the Lions need a running back — so why not Florida State’s Dalvin Cook or Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey?
Let’s be brutally honest, the Lions can’t run the ball. At least not with who they have right now.
Fansided indicates Cook may be a no-brainer when it comes to the Lions first round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft — that is if he is still available. Ameer Abdullah has been injury prone and may never live up to what the Detroit Lions front office hoped he would. Zach Zenner and Theo Redick are really good players, but they just don’t have that power game and finesse like an Ezekiel Elliott, Le’Veon Bell, Jay Ajayi, or any of the other top runners in the game.
While NFL fans never know who will be the real deal and who will be a bust, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey look like they have every bit of potential to be the next big thing.
Could you imagine how much better Matt Stafford could be if he actually had some sort of running game?
ESPN reports that the Detroit Lions finished No. 30 overall in rushing in 2016. The only two teams that were worse than Detroit were Los Angeles and Minnesota.
Yet, the Lions made the postseason which shows how much talent they already have on offense. A star running back in Detroit could finally be enough to thrust this team to the next level.
Dalvin Cook was a flat out beast for Florida State in 2016. He rushed for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, and he has nearly 4,500 rushing yards in his career at FSU — which spans only three seasons. Cook, who would have been a senior at FSU in 2017, has decided to forgo his final season with the Seminoles and declared himself eligible for the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.
This kid has it all: speed, strength and the ability to see the play develop.
The Lions have the No. 21 selection in the first round and most NFL Mock Draft experts have Cook being selected before then, but if Cook is available at No. 21, it will be interesting to see if Detroit selects him.
Another great running back that could still be available when the Lions go on the clock is Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey has been Mr. Everything at Stanford the last two years — literally.
McCaffrey rushed for 1,603 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2016 in just 11 games. In 2015, he rushed for 2,019 yards and also nearly gained 700 yards receiving. He is a duel threat, can run with the best in the game, and he has a good blood line for football.
His father, Ed McCaffrey, played wide-out for the Denver Broncos, while his brothers, Luke, Max, and Dylan, all have had success in football. In the fall of 2017, Dylan McCaffrey, a five-star football recruit, is headed to Michigan to play under coach Jim Harbaugh.
The McCaffrey family loves football, and they are great at playing it.
Drafting Christian McCaffrey at No. 21 could be what the Lions need to get their non-existing run game going again.
Both McCaffrey and Cook will be taken on day one of the NFL Draft this April, and if you are a Lions fan, you should be hoping one of their names is called when Detroit makes their first selection.
[Feature Image by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]