NFC North: LaMichael James

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Detroit Lions' contract agreement with Kevin Smith adds to the team's collection of running backs. But I would caution you against assuming that the Lions are done assembling their backfield.

When you look at it, Smith, Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure have all dealt with injuries of various types in the past few years. Smith struggled last season with an ankle injury, Best (concussion) is awaiting medical clearance to resume football activities and Leshoure ruptured his Achilles' tendon in training camp last summer.

Even with Smith's return, it's worth noting the Lions have put some heavy early draft work into Oregon running back LaMichael James. Coach Jim Schwartz attended his pro day earlier this month, and James also visited the Lions' practice facility.

Could the Lions draft a running back in the top half of the draft for the third consecutive year? We don't know, of course, but their history suggests not to rule it out.

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NFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 9/4
Sunday, 9/7
Monday, 9/8