Sports

The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time 

Ranker NFL
Updated October 17, 2019 3.2k votes 905 voters 31.2k views 31 items

Big fan of Detroit football? Then check out this list of Detroit Lions running backs with photos and seasons as starters. It includes every starting running back from throughout Detroit Lions history, including current running backs and past ones. Featuring 2018-2019 Detroit Lions and some of the greatest NFL running backs of all time, the best Lions RBs include Barry Sanders, Billy Sims, Kevin Jones, and James Stewart. 

Who are the best running backs in Detroit Lions history? Here is every player who has ever held the position of Detroit Lions starting running back. Vote below, then head over and check out the top Lions kickers ever and best Lions tight ends.

list ordered by
1
Barry Sanders is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989

2
Billy Sims is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980

3
Mel Farr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 1973, 1972, 1971, 1970, 1969, 1968, 1967

4
Reggie Bush is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 2014, 2013

5
Dexter Bussey is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980, 1979, 1978, 1976, 1975, 1974

6
Theo Riddick is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013

7
Doak Walker is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added Doak Walker
8
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
James Stewart

Seasons:  2003, 2002, 2001, 2000

9
Steve Owens is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1970

10
Kerryon Johnson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
cwjohnson added
11
Jahvid Best is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 2012, 2011, 2010

12
Kevin Jones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
Kevin Jones

Seasons: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

13
Kevin Smith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

14
Nick Pietrosante is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added Nick Pietrosante
15
Altie Taylor is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1970, 1969

16
John Henry Johnson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added
17
James Jones is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added
18
Joique Bell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
25aarnott added
19
Rick Kane is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

Seasons: 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980, 1979, 1978, 1977

20
Ace Gutowsky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added Ace Gutowsky
21
Bob Hoernschmeyer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added Bob Hoernschmeyer
22
Ernie Caddel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added Ernie Caddel
23
Horace King is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
jhsmith added Horace King

1975-1983 3660 total yards 14 touchdowns

24
Garry James is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
Garry James

Seasons: 1988, 1987, 1986

25
Shawn Bryson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time
Shawn Bryson

Seasons: 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003