In what will be an ongoing series, I will be taking a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster and examine where things stand, who has the best shot at making the final 53-man roster, and whether or not we improved in this area. Next up, wide receiver.
Current players on contract: Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Ryan Broyles, Jeremy Ross, Kevin Ogletree, TJ Jones, Kris Durham, Corey Fuller, Patrick Edwards, Cody Wilson, Andrew Peacock, Naaman Roosevelt
There’s not much to say about Calvin Johnson that we don’t already know. Megatron is the best wide receiver on the planet and it’s not even close right now.
With the Lions addressing their needs at wide receiver this offseason, it will make Megatron’s life much easier and take a whole lot of pressure off of him.
Chances of making final roster: 100% (duh)
Last year the Lions were extremely thin at the wide receiver position after Megatron. Adding a sure-handed receiver like Tate was a huge step in the right direction. Tate had just three drops last year, and only five in the last three years.
The receiving corps for the Lions has been unreliable to say the least, so this signing comes as an early Christmas present for Matthew Stafford.
Chances of making final roster: 100% (finally, a legitimate #2 WR!)
Ryan Broyles has had the worst luck any professional athlete could ask for. Coming off of two separate ACL injuries and a torn Achilles tendon, it’s make or break for the third-year receiver out of Oklahoma.
There will be a spot on this roster for Ryan Broyles barring another significant injury
When healthy, Broyles is a stud that can get separation on command and move the chains for the Lions.
There will be a spot on this roster for Ryan Broyles barring another significant injury, whether it’s as the starting slot receiver or not.
Chances of making final roster: 95% (needs to keep himself in one piece)
Jeremy Ross was on the field for only 181 snaps on offense last year, but had a big year as a punt/kick returner for the Lions (something we haven’t had since Eddie Drummond).
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Despite being a return specialist, there has been a lot of hype surrounding Ross this offseason saying that he’ll have an increased role on offense. It will be interesting to see if Ross can live up to these claims and adapt to the Lions’ new-look offense.
Chances of making final roster: 90% (kick/punt returner and increased role on offense)
After Nate Burleson went down last year the Lions signed Kevin Ogletree, who was previously released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He didn’t see too much time on the field for the Lions, ending with 13 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown, but he did have an amazing Turkey Day catch against the Packers.
Ogletree has a legitimate chance at adding some depth to the wide receiver position, and it helps that he was one of the players that has impressed offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi so far.
Chances of making final roster: 60% (would add some good depth)
Many of us knew that the Lions would take a wide receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft, but nobody thought that it would happen as late as the sixth round. However, Jones was a solid late-round pick and was all over the field for Notre Dame last year.
Jones saw some time as an outside receiver, slot receiver, punt returner, and even lined up in the backfield for the Irish. I could see him competing with Broyles, Ebron and Ogletree for some snaps in the slot for the Lions, and with Jones’ versatility it shouldn’t be hard for the Lions to find a spot for him on their roster.
If the Lions cannot find a place for him, he will likely start off on the practice squad like Corey Fuller did last year.
Chances of making final roster: 55% (jack of all trades, master of none)
Next Page: Kris Durham, Corey Fuller, Patrick Edwards, Cody Wilson, Naaman Roosevelt, Andrew Peacock