Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) and wide receiver Kris Durham (18) stand around during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at Ford Field. Giants beat the Lions 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
#4: Wide Receiver Depth
Last year, the Lions couldn’t get any production at the wide receiver position outside of Calvin Johnson. Nate Burleson had a hot start to the year before he fractured his arm due to a pizza incident, and Stafford couldn’t seem to find any consistency with guys like Kris Durham, Kevin Ogletree, Ryan Broyles and others.
Martin Mayhew and the Lions front office made it very clear that addressing the wide receiver position was a big need leading up to Free Agency and the NFL Draft. Subsequently, they added free agent Golden Tate as their #2 wide receiver, and drafted Notre Dame wide receiver TJ Jones with their 6th round pick (189th overall).
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In recent years the Lions have chosen to stick with 5 or 6 receivers on their final 53-man roster. But with the addition of Ebron as a hybrid tight end/wide receiver and having running backs like Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick who can also see time as slot receivers, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them keep only 4 receivers.
Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate are locks as the #1 and #2 receivers respectively, but the position is up for grabs between everyone else. Corey Fuller was drafted last year as a developmental player and has already shown vast improvements in his game during mini-camps.
Jeremy Ross was a return specialist last year, but players and coaches believe that he will have a bigger role on offense this year, and don’t forget Kris Durham who won’t be pressured to step in as the #2 receiver anymore.
Ryan Broyles is also looking closer and closer to getting 100% healthy, and TJ Jones was drafted as an extremely versatile receiver who can line up as a slot receiver, outside receiver, punt returner, and also had some snaps in the backfield for Notre Dame last year.
Early Prediction: Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Ryan Broyles, Jeremy Ross, TJ Jones