Detroit Lions: Adding Adrian Peterson would not be a bad thing

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

As the NFL rosters need to be cut down to 53 by 4 pm EST Saturday, the Detroit Lions will have plenty of decisions to make.

The Detroit Lions are certainly focusing on who they are going to be releasing. Still, general manager Bob Quinn should also have his sights set on some players other organizations are releasing.  It’s an exciting time, as one man’s trash can end up being another man’s fortune.

Friday, the Washington Football Team surprisingly released future Hall Of Fame running back Adrian Peterson.  Peterson had expected to be the early-down back for Washington as they mix in rookie Antonio Gibson who has a similar skill-set to Christian McCaffery.  Don’t expect the same production right away, but Gibson can run between the tackles along with displaying tremendous hands as a pass-catching running back.

Washington also rosters Bryce Love, a power back that’s looked good throughout camp, along with Peyton Barber and former Detroit Lions playmaker J.D. McKissic.

Peterson, at 35-years old, doesn’t have much tread left on his tires, but he can still help out in short-yardage situations and maybe down at the goal-line.  Last season with Washington, Peterson rushed for 898 yards on 211 carries totaling five rushing touchdowns.  That’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry. One thing that stands out though was the 524 rushing yards he accumulated after contact or 58% of his yards, and Peterson recorded seven broken tackles.

In comparison, Bo Scarbrough averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season, totaling 377 yards on 89 carries in six games played.  I was very impressed with Scarbrough’s effort running behind a lackluster offensive line and often facing an eight-man box as the organization didn’t have a capable quarterback under center after Matthew Stafford had been shut down for the season.

Scarbrough broke five tackles and totaled 194 of his 377 yards after contact, which equals 51% of his rushing yards came after contact.  Impressive, but that’s still seven percent below Peterson’s total.  Jonathan Williams filled in nicely last season in Indianapolis when starter Marlon Mack fell to injury averaging 4.8 yards per carry but behind one of the leagues’ best offensive lines.

Williams also eclipsed the 100-yard rushing plateau in back-to-back games last season.  Don’t be surprised if he’s the preferred choice to start the season as Detroit’s goal-line back.  Williams accumulated 133 yards after contact or 56.5% of his total 235 yards rushing.

Another running back hoping to solidify a position with the Detroit Lions is Ty Johnson.  Johnson averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 63 totes during his rookie season, but he also reeled in 24 receptions.

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Johnson, at 5-foot-10, 210-pounds has the potential to be the short-yardage back, but I expect the Detroit Lions will roster either Scarbrough or Williams as well.  Or perhaps forgo both and sign Peterson to be the third or fourth back, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing.