Identifying 6 Nate Burleson Replacement Options for the Detroit Lions

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Ryan Broyles (internal)

Sep 22, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles (84) runs with the ball after a reception as Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather (31) defends during the first half at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Broyles, a second-round pick in 2012, is the most obvious choice to step in and pick up some of the slack caused by Burleson’s absence.  He played his first game of the season at Washington, and though he hauled in only three passes, he is projected for much bigger things in the future.

However, there’s a major problem with this. Broyles is coming off his second ACL injury in as many years, and while he’s healthy enough to play, he isn’t healthy enough to play every offensive snap. According to head coach Jim Schwartz, Broyles played ” about 17 or 18 snaps” against Washington, which Schwartz thought “was a good pitch count for him.”

Broyles will get stronger every week, and eventually he’ll be an every-down receiver, probably a very good one. But eventually, Burleson will be back from his injury, too. What happens in the meantime?

Risk: Moderate

The Lions don’t have to invest any new resources, but there’s a great risk of derailing the passing game while they wait for Broyles to integrate with the passing offense.

Reward: Moderate

Broyles looks like he’s on the way to being a solid receiver already. Simply moving him up the depth chart and giving him that added responsibility could bring him along faster. The two things he needs more than anything are health and game experience.