The Detroit Lions are barely three days into the 2012 edition of training camp and already the wagons are circling and questions are beginning to pile up. One of the most glaring is that of the running back position. With Javid Best being placed on the "Physically Unable to Practice" list, and Mikel Leshoure being required to miss the first two games of the year, a solid starting option is a vital, and yet controversial decision. Of the options remaining, it is likely the oft-injured Kevin Smith will assume the role, should Best be unable to gain medical clearance. However, if there was one tailback that could be an early favorite as a "sleeper" pick, my choice would be Stefan Logan.
Logan, a 31-year-old, 4 season veteran out of North Dakota, possesses very good speed, acceleration and the ability to make defenders miss in open space. A hybrid back/wide receiver option, his vision and durability combine with his high-velocity skill set to make him a, potentially, dangerous option, much like Darren Sproles. While he may not have the consistency to become a featured back or receiver, his talent goes beyond that required to be considered a suitable substitute or short-term replacement for the Lions' ailing backfield.
As a returner, Logan has all the tools necessary to excel, but mental mistakes have cost him. He has averaged 26.2 yards per carry in his career, and has the explosiveness to "take it to the house" each time he fields the ball.
What sets Logan apart from his backfield brethren is his diminutive stature. At 5'6, 180 pounds, he comes in much smaller than Best (5'10, 199 lbs.) and Leshoure (6'0, 225 lbs.) but has more than enough "highlight reel" potential to make up for what he lacks in girth. He is highly deceptive, when running the ball. He also makes for a sneaky, nearly invisible receiving option, coming out of the backfield.
Granted, Logan may not be the best option available. He is, however, someone I believe is due for a breakout year, especially in lieu of Detroit's current issues at the position. As MLive.com reporter, Anwar Richardson, described it on Twitter, Logan continues to "impress" at training camp. Should he continue to do so, he could make the leap from third-tier role player to a viable second-string option.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and the University of Notre Dame.