2016 NFL Draft: WR Rankings and the Detroit Lions

Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Cody Core (88) celebrates his 48-yard touchdown pass with Laquon Treadwell (1) against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first quarter of the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Cody Core (88) celebrates his 48-yard touchdown pass with Laquon Treadwell (1) against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first quarter of the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
1Laquon TreadwellOle Miss6’2″221
2Josh DoctsonTCU6’2″202
3Corey ColemanBaylor5’11”194
4Michael ThomasOhio State6’3″212
5Sterling ShepardOklahoma5’10”194
6Leonte CarrooRutgers6’0″211
7Tyler BoydPittsburgh6’1″197
8Will FullerNotre Dame6’0″186
9Malcolm MitchellGeorgia6’0″198
10Mike ThomasSouthern Miss6’1″193
11Braxton MillerOhio State6’1″201
12Rashard HigginsColorado State6’1″196
13Jordan PaytonUCLA6’1″207
14Daniel BravermanWestern Michigan5’10”175
15Tajae SharpeMassachusetts6’2″194
16Jalin MarshallOhio State5’10”200
17Demarcus RobinsonFlorida6’1″203
18Charone PeakeClemson6’2″209
19Devon CajusteStanford6’4″234
20Keyarris GarrettTulsa6’3″220
21Nelson SpruceColorado6’1″206
22Marquez NorthTennessee6’2″223
23Rashawn ScottMiami Fla.6’1″199
24Roger LewisBowling Green6’0″201
25Pharoh CooperSouth Carolina5’11”203
26Kenny LawlerCalifornia6’2″203
27Kolby ListenbeeTCU6’0″197
28Hunter SharpUtah State5’11”198
29Aaron BurbridgeMichigan State6’0″206
30Geronimo AllisonIllinois6’3″196
31Mitch MathewsBYU6’6″222
32Cayleb JonesArizona6’3″209
33Jakeem GrantTexas Tech5’6″165
34Robby AndersonTemple6’3″187
35Paul McRobertsS.E. Missouri St.6’2″202
36Thomas DuarteUCLA6’2″231
37De’Runnya WilsonMississippi State6’5″224
38Chris MooreCincinnati6’1″206
39KJ MayeMinnesota5’8″191
40Jay LeeBaylor6’2″215
41Alonzo RussellToledo6’4″206
42Bralon AddisonOregon5’9″197
43Demarcus AyersHouston5’9″182
44Chris BrownNotre Dame6’2″194
45Jaydon MickensWashington5’10”174
46D’haquille WilliamsAuburn6’2″229
47Trevor DavisCalifornia6’1″188
48D.J. FosterArizona State5’10”195
49Quinshad DavisNorth Carolina6’3″218
50Ricardo LouisAuburn6’2″215
51Keenan ReynoldsNavy5’10”191
52Tevaun Smith Iowa6’0″205
53Jordan WilliamsBall State6’3″227
54Byron MarshallOregon5’9″201
55Ed EagenNorthwestern State5’10”185
56Kenneth ScottUtah6’2″209
57Cody CoreOle Miss6’2″205
58Mekale McKayCincinnati6’4″207
59Devin FullerUCLA6’0″194
60Jamaal JonesMontana6’1″189
61Bryce TreggsCalifornia5’11”190
62Jamal RobinsonUL-Lafayette6’2″212
63Johnny HoltonCincinnati6’1″190
64Chester RogersGrambling6’1″181
65Dom WilliamsWashington State6’3″198
66Brandon SwindallUtah State6’3″205

I can make an argument for a lot of these players in terms of being a fit for the Detroit Lions as they all have attributes that make them very intriguing additions to the offense. However, that doesn’t mean I can formulate something that is logical, rational or in any way reasonable. It’s the reality with the wide receiver position, so I’m swinging for the fences here and I’ll spew the reasons why some of these receivers would look great in a Lions uniform.

Let’s start at the top. I’d love to see Laquon Treadwell in Honolulu blue and silver lined up out of the slot. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but it also may be a brilliant idea and the beauty here is it is probably a bit of both. I’ll let you decide.

As offenses have used smaller and quicker receivers to run routes out of the slot, defenses have responded by deploying players that are capable of staying with these quicker athletes. That has meant that the traditional slot corner is a smaller, shiftier player but I’ll argue that we could see this change over the next few seasons. Wouldn’t it be beautiful for the Lions to be ahead of the curve and directly on the cutting edge of this trend?

If it were me, I’d want my offense taking advantage of defenses by playing bigger players to create mismatches. Out of the slot, Treadwell would be a nightmare for opposing defenses so long as there is speed outside which will give him room to operate. The Lions have good quickness in receiver Golden Tate and have added a nice speed element in newly acquired receiver Marvin Jones. Tight end Eric Ebron is both quick and fast and the trio would create a good amount of operating space for the physically imposing Treadwell.

The top speed argument over Treadwell’s 40-yard dash has gone off the rails as he displays enough quickness and ability to defeat defenders at the line of scrimmage through his footwork, amongst other things. The physicality and tenacity he displays while running routes all but renders the concerns over his long speed pointless.

Corey Coleman will straight up eat a defensive back’s soul and proceed to tell him how bad it tasted for the next series of plays. I love his competitive fire and ability to make big plays and he flashes “Steve Smith” at times. That’s enough to drool at the thought of him in Detroit.

Ohio State’s Michael Thomas isn’t flashy but he seems to get the job done, and there’s a lot to like about him as a player. He’d clearly be an outside receiver in Detroit and would give the Lions a weapon to build around, although it might take him a little time to figure it all out.

Another Buckeye that I find intriguing is Braxton Miller. He is an explosive athlete, but is quite raw as a route runner and he is going to take more time to develop into a consistent weapon for an offense. While he flashes big play potential, he must learn to finish defenders in the early and intermediate parts of his routes.

It’s easy to see him separate when the ball is in the air which tells me he should be able to separate all over the field, except he hasn’t done it very much and he needs time. His selection is more about what he’ll become and less about what he is right now. If he can learn to get more depth into a defenders body before he breaks he’ll be lethal. He’ll also need to continue to develop in almost every way for him to be a trustworthy option at the position.

As a sleeper, one player stands out above all the others, and that’s Southern Miss wide receiver Mike Thomas. He was not invited to the combine (it’s a hell of a snub) but displays great balance with the ball in his hands and excellent quickness as a receiver. There is also the flair that he has for the dramatic, coming in the form of ridiculous contested catch situations. I’d prefer Thomas (from Southern Miss, not Ohio State) in Round 4 over almost every receiver in this class not named Treadwell, Doctson or Coleman.

Players I like more than others (I think) are UCLA’s Jordan Payton, Clemson’s Charone Peake and Miami’s Rashawn Scott. I suppose you can throw in Michigan State’s Aaron Burbridge here too. All offer the ability to play outside for the Lions but will most definitely need time to figure out how to play professional football.