Nate Burleson says Lions will have “best ground game in the NFC North”

Best RB Group in the division?

Since former Lions WR Nate Burleson has retired from the NFL, he’s climbed up the ranks as a TV sports analyst. He’s been a co-host of GMFB on NFL Network for the past 4 years, is an analyst on CBS Sports, and is also a correspondent for the entertainment news program “Extra”.

But all of this national attention doesn’t shy Burleson away from giving the Lions some praise.

Nate has always publicly supported the Lions when he can, but his latest take is the most controversial yet. Tuesday on GMFB, Burleson had the following to say:

“I think they’re finally starting to fix [the running game]. Kerryon Johnson – he showed some moments where he did some good things before he got banged up – but look at what they did in the draft. That was great for them to go get D’Andre Swift. He comes from that cloth. He comes from that Georgia running back pedigree. [He will be] an immediate impact”

“When he fell to them, at 35, it was the football gods blessing the Detroit Lions”

Burleson Continued:

“I feel like with this group of running backs – along with the WR’s and TE’s they already have – the Detroit Lions will have the best running game in the NFC North.”

Knowing that this is a hot take, he acknowledged the other RB groups in the division:

“I get it, Minnesota has Dalvin Cook. Aaron Jones was unbelievable last year. The Bears have some guys who can make some plays. But I feel like the Detroit Lions are going to do it this year, and have the best running game”

It seems Nate had been drinking some Honolulu blue Kool-Aid before going on the air.

After the draft, I can see why Nate is high on this RB group. D’Andre Swift should add some electricity. Jason Huntley should compete with Ty Johnson for the do-it-all receiving back. The offensive line is arguably better at run blocking. All of this looks great on paper.

But in Detroit we know better than anyone that looking good on paper doesn’t mean a thing until the pads come on and snaps are played. There are reasons to be optimistic about the running game, sure, but Burleson might have had one too many sips of the Kool-Aid here.

The bottom line is that this group is still very unproven. Kerryon Johnson has been plagued with nagging injuries and we are yet to see his full potential. Bo Scarbrough had a solid year, but is still young. Swift and Huntley have not played a down in the NFL yet, and Ty Johnson is not a lock to make the roster.

If the Lions do end up having the best rushing attack in the division it’s not hard to imagine them doing great things. Hopefully this includes winning the NFC North for the first time in franchise history.

Tyler Bostedor
Owner/Managing Editor for Detroit Sports Network. Feel free to reach me at