Position: Running back
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 247
Experience: Ninth season
Outlook: Blount was a key free-agent signing for the Detroit Lions this offseason. Detroit was last in the NFL in rushing a year ago, and last in converting on 3rd & short and 4th & short situations. In Blount, Detroit has a nearly 250-pound tank that they're hoping will help them convert a few more of those crucial short-yardage situations.
Blount won't be relegated to just short-yardage and goal line situations, however. Blount rushed for more than 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns two seasons ago in New England. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry for Philadelphia last season.
Blount is just the kind of player the Lions need in their backfield to run a more physical brand of football. He's a load to bring down, and has been the first back behind quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first-team offense pretty consistently throughout camp.
Rookie Kerryon Johnson and veteran Theo Riddick will be important components to the offense and the run game as well, but Blount is likely to get his fair share of carries.
* Practice report*: One of the first times Blount caught my eye in Thursday's practice was during pass rush drills between the linebackers and running backs. The drill essentially works on backs picking up a blitzing linebacker. Blount stoned linebacker Jarrad Davis in both reps he had against him. At 247 pounds, Blount looks like a linebacker, so it's no surprise he was tops among the running backs in the drill.
During an 11-on-11 team drill later on in practice, Blount showed off his versatility. He took a snap on a stretch play off right tackle, and made a nice inside cut behind a receiver's block for what would have been a nice gain. Even though he's nearly 250 pounds, Blount showed on that play he can still get to the edge.
Earlier in a team period, he took a handoff and tried to run through the A-gap, but it was clogged up. He's so big and physical that he was able to put his shoulder down and just push his way for a couple hard-earned yards that most backs wouldn't have picked up.
Blount got to meet defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson face-to-face in a team drill toward the end of practice. Blount took a handoff running right, and Robinson did a good job to elude his blocker and wrap Blount up in the backfield. It wasn't live to-the-ground tackling, but there would have been no escaping the big defensive tackle on the play.
The last period of practice every day is for the young players and second and third teamers who don't get as many reps throughout the course of practice. During that period, first teamers and vets are starting to wind down, stretch and go through their post-practice routines. On Thursday, Blount could be seen running gassers by himself on the other field during that period.
Quotable: "You practice being more physical," Blount said. "You practice hitting more. You practice tackling live. You practice getting into situations where you have no choice but to play downhill and either make a stop or make a play.