Thanks to RB Kevin Jones' strong performance -- and an outlook for even better things to come -- the Lions will have little interest in this year's crop of running backs in the NFL draft.
Jones blossomed in the second half of his rookie season when coach Steve Mariucci made him the starter and put the ball in his hands 21 times or more in seven of the last eight games. He responded with five games of 99 yards or more, including 196 against Arizona and 156 against Green Bay in back-to-back games in December.
"We can foresee him advancing to a point where he is the feature back," Mariucci said. "That means when the game is over, he's been pretty busy. It means, too, that he gets some help. There's another guy for a one-two punch."
In the Lions' case, the second part of the one-two punch -- for the immediate future, at least -- appears to be veteran Shawn Bryson.
In his second season after undergoing knee surgery at Buffalo, Bryson averaged 5.3 yards on 50 carries and caught 44 passes for 322 yards.
The third back -- Artose Pinner -- was pushed to the background with Jones and Bryson playing well but the Lions still feel he can be an effective NFL back.