No, not that Kevin Smith - the one that plays football.
I'm not going to review the entire Lions draft board, but I would like to discuss the wisdom of one of their picks, third rounder Kevin Smith from UCF. The last time the Lions drafted a running back coming off a junior season in which he gained over 2500 yards, it worked out pretty well for them. His name was Barry Sanders. It's well documented that Barry Sanders had a great career, but he had what is widely considered to be the finest single season of any college football player ever. In fact, Smith had a great season last year - one that compares pretty favorably with Barry's last season.
- In 14 games (2007), Smith rushed for 2567 yards, and scored 29 TDs (in 450 carries). This includes his bowl game.
- In 11 games (1988), Sanders rushed for 2628 yards and scored 39 TDs. (in 356 carries). This does not even include the bowl game in which he rushed for an additional 222 yards and scored 5 TDs (bowl game stats did not count then).
While Smith's season was great by any definition of the word, Sanders' Heisman winning season was one that I feel comfortable in saying will not ever be duplicated. In twelve games, Sanders gained 2850 yards (237.5 yards per game), and scored 44 TDs. Those kinds of numbers are absolutely unreachable in the foreseeable future - even when bowl games counted in the stats.
The bottom line, and the point of this post, is that I think Kevin Smith is a very good pick and has a very good chance to be a star in the league - even if he is not Barry Sanders. Even if he turns out to be only half as good as Barry, he'll be the second best RB the Lions have ever had.