Detroit traded its 34th overall pick, along with a fourth-rounder and an additional selection to snare one of the quicker prospects in the draft.
Best, who was once considered a Heisman hopeful, suffered a season-ending concussion with three games remaining in his final season at Cal that limited his off-season participation with NFL clubs. Although his stock was affected, Best's collegiate transgressions were not without acclaim.
Before his injury, Best accrued 12 touchdowns and 867 rushing yards in his senior campaign, tallying a 6.1 yards-per-carry average. He is also an effective receiver out of the backfield.
Best ran a 4.37 40-time, speed that Detroit's scouting staff and coaching staff will hope transitions well on the Ford Field turf.
The Lions have notable concerns in the backfield, hence the rush to pick Best. The team's only backfield threat, Kevin Smith, is returning from off-season knee surgery, and although Detroit is optimistic that he can return to full-strength, the idea of pairing Smith with Best is an enticing thought -- especially neither left the college ranks with a pedigree to be a No. 1 back at the next level.
Below is a complete prospect profile from NFL draft expert Chris Steuber ...
Position: Running Back
Projected 40-Time: 4.37
Star Rating: Grade: 91
Draft Projection: 1st - 2nd Round
Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of March 5th) in the 2010 Scout.com Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:
85-100 = 1st - 2nd
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th
_55-69 = 5th - 6th
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA
Strengths: Best is an electrifying player who is a threat to score from any angle on the field. He’s a patient ball carrier that waits for blocks to develop and uses his excellent vision to find a crease. He possesses a tremendous burst, sets up defenders nicely, freezes them with his shiftiness and instantly cuts back for a long gain. He’s amazing in space, and when isolated against a linebacker on the perimeter, he wins that battle every time. He’s deceptively strong and runs with great balance and body control. He has a knack for creating plays when nothing is available, always looking for positive yards. He’s a solid receiver out of the backfield who possesses soft, reliable hands and immediately turns up field looking for pay dirt. He has experience and was effective as a kick returner.
Weaknesses: He lacks prototypical size and will be best used at the next level in a two-back system. He has to improve his upper-body strength and is a liability as a blocker in pass protection. He doesn’t possess great leg drive and will go down on initial contact. Durability is a major issue.Steuber Says: A two-year starter at Cal, Best played in 31 career games, starting 19, and was one of the most dynamic players in the nation during his time with the Golden Bears. Best decided to leave school a year early; a major factor in his decision was the horrific fall he took after leaping into the endzone and falling squarely on the back of his head, an injury that sent him to the hospital with a concussion and out of the lineup for the remaining four games of the 2009 season. Despite his incredible production during his three years at Cal, injuries have plagued Best during his career. In addition to the concussion he sustained this past season, Best has endured injuries to his hip, foot and elbow; surgery was required for his foot and elbow in 2008. Listed at a generous 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, Best has first round talent, but teams will do their due diligence and conduct extensive medical checks to ensure his health. Best’s inability to stay healthy over the years, and the fact that he’s best suited to share the load instead of starring in a lead role at the next level, will ultimately hurt his draft stock and force him into the second round.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.