Detroit Lions Draft Needs: Free Agency Edition

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David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Passing the Torch – Wide Reciever

Jeremy Ross had more snaps in 2014 than Calvin Johnson.  Yes, I’m aware Calvin was injured and missed time due to that, it would be a strange point to make to try to compare Ross and Megatron.  I point out the snap count for a different reason.  Ross had only 24 receptions on 36 targets.  In terms of catch rates, that’s actually pretty good, but on more than 700 snaps?  I’d have to  run a whole lot of numbers to get the exact percentages, but I’m almost certain 36 targets on 700 snaps is near the bottom of the league.

For comparison, on FAR fewer snaps, Theo Riddick actually hauled in 34 passes and 4 touchdowns.  The Lions are in need of a receiver to compliment Megatron and Golden Tate, and badly.  In theory, Eric Ebron is that guy, but there’s more to it than just getting a competent #3 receiver.

The Lions are nearing the end with Calvin Johnson.  It’s a sad thought, but it’s coming.  Johnson is the youngest active player in the top 100 all time receiving yards and receptions, but injuries have been a concern both due to the focus teams give to him and his physical playing style.  The Lions need to start looking for a long-term successor to one of the best to ever play the game.

I’m not saying the team should take a receiver in the 1st round.  I’m pretty sure the fan base would revolt if that happened.  It still needs to be addressed.  Looking outside their top pick, you’re not going to find a Megatron replacement.

With some work, you might still be able to find a #1 receiver if given time and development.  Likely to be favorite due to his father, Breshad Perriman, lit up his pro day and has received national attention, but his tape isn’t 1st round tape, and could be a good 2nd round option.  Phillip Dorsett is all speed and no wasted movement, but his ability to catch away from his body will have to be reworked completely due to his tiny catch radius (catches with his chest, like Pat Edwards does). Nebraska’s Kenny Bell doesn’t receive enough attention for how good of a player and athlete he is, and might be the quickest to develop if picked in the 3rd round or so.

Receiver might be a questionable pick by many fans, but this team needs it both as an immediate improvement over what they have currently on the roster and long-term once Calvin Johnson begins working on his retirement and then hall of fame speech.

Next: Lions Have Options to Fill 2015 NFL Draft Gap

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