The Detroit Lions are getting around to something they should have focused on last offseason -- a running back.
General manager Martin Mayhew recently admitted it was a mistake not having a backup plan for the concussed Jahvid Best, who was never cleared in 2012. His career may be over. That left the Lions with the physical Mikel Leshoure, undrafted street free agent Joique Bell and injury-prone Kevin Smith.
"We need that shifty back that can come in and be a change-of-pace guy and catch passes out of the backfield," Mayhew told the team website. "A guy that can run routes and get one-on-one and beat a linebacker. That's what Jahvid gave us, a guy with some juice and some elusiveness."
The Lions had the No. 23 run game in the NFL while Bell filled Best's role with 52 catches for 485 yards. That offense could be one of the best in the NFL if Matthew Stafford can regain his 2011 form and the Lions add another playmaker to the backfield in that Darren Sproles mold. Stafford set an NFL record with 727 pass attempts in 2012. The coaching staff would love to supplement that and the run game with some easy, quick throws to an elusive back in space.
Best and Leshoure were drafted in back-to-back years to capture that finesse-power combination. Mayhew has to find the front end of that before August.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.