Detroit Lions should target Rhamondre Stevenson late in the NFL draft

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions should consider using a mid-to-late round draft pick on running back Rhamondre Stevenson.

With the organization surely expected to move on from veteran Adrain Peterson, and knowing the often injured Kerryon Johnson is more of a third-round, pass protecting back Stevenson should be on general manager Brad Holmes’ radar come draft day.  Johnson is also entering into the final year of his current deal.

The marvelous second-year running back D’Andre Swift is expected to be more of a three-down running back and should excel in newly appointed offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn’s scheme.  Lynn loves a ‘do it all’ back that can run in between the tackles, off-tackle, and that thrives catching the football out of the backfield.

Swift checks all the boxes.

The Detroit Lions should be eager to replace Peterson’s short-yardage, change of pace role with someone they can pair with Swift for years to come.  It’s a difficult position to fill in free agency and receive the same value as you would by simply drafting a player.

I don’t necessarily believe in the old adage that states running backs are ‘a dime a dozen’, but if there is something I’ve learned over the years, teams’ shouldn’t race to pay a running back in free agency.

Take a player like Le’Veon Bell, for example.  Bell was at the top of his game and, after holding out a year, basically fell off the face of the earth but still broke the bank signing with the New York Jets only to be waived mid-way through the 2020 season.

The Detroit Lions should target Rhamondre Stevenson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Stevenson is a massive yet stout ball carrier that stands 6-foot but plays at 240-pounds.  You’d figure he’s more of a fullback, for a player of this stature, but his 4.6 40-time and nimble footwork tell a different story.

I’m not going to say that Stevenson will mirror Derrick Henry, but he does have a similar style.  Henry stands 6-foot-3 and plays around 248 pounds.  When you subtract about eight pounds and three inches, you’ve got a similar powerful build.  Henry ran a 4.54 40-time at his NFL combine, again similar to Stevenson.

The product of Oaklahoma is the right mix of power and wiggle and projects to be a solid RB2 that may grow into an RB1 with some improvement as a pass-catcher at the NFL level.

The senior, like many large-framed runners, is a one-cut back that likes to hit the hole and initiate the contact at the second level of a defense, often delivering the blow.  Stevenson lacks shifty lateral movements, but he’d be a nice compliment to Swift with the Detroit Lions.

The senior runner was limited to just six games this past season after a suspension carried over from 2019 when Stevenson tested positive for THC before the Sooners’ bowl game.

As a junior, Stevenson shared the backfield with Trey Sermon, who transferred to Ohio State for his senior year.  Both power backs should be targets of the Detroit Lions, but Stevenson could be had likely in the fifth round.  Sermon will likely be off the board a round sooner.

As a junior, Stevenson rushed for 515 yards on 64 carries, good for eight yards per carry and six touchdowns.  He’d follow up with 665 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 101 totes in six games as a senior last season.  Stevenson is not much of a pass-catcher but did chip in with 18 receptions totaling 211 yards last season.

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Stevenson is a back that could fly under the radar, but someone Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes needs to consider targeting.