The candidates to fill out the receiving corps are in general names we don’t know or want to forget. Deontez Alexander, Andy Jones, Brandon Powell, and Chris Lacy are holdovers from last year, but will any of them be good enough to crack the 2019 roster?
Tommylee Lewis, Jonathan Duhart, Tom Kennedy, and Jordan Smallwood are some of the new faces trying to find their way onto this years team. Yet most fans are not familiar with any of them except Lewis, who was a very limited role player for the Saints the past three years.
The final prospect is the Lions sixth-round selection, Travis Fulgham out of Old Dominion.
One of the most intriguing prospects is Tom Kennedy. The former LaCrosse star simply dominated at little Bryant University. He possesses very reliable hands and isn’t afraid of contact. He’s also probably only a candidate for the practice squad to get some seasoning.
Jordan Smallwood is talented, but also spent the majority of his collegiate career injured. He had a cup of coffee with the 49ers, but will now be given a chance to make the Lions roster. Jonathan Duhart was the former running mate of Fulgham at Old Dominion. Despite Fulgham being the pick, Duhart’s stats were just as good. He is also probably another candidate for the practice squad and not the final roster.
Andy Jones, Chris Lacy, and Deontez Alexander all saw the field for Detroit last year, but none of them particularly stood out. This will most likely be their final opportunity to do so with the Lions.
Brandon Powell was proclaimed to be Golden Tates heir to the slot by none other than Tate himself. However, despite being on the roster the entire season, he did little to impress until the finale in Green Bay when he snagged six receptions for 103 yards and a 17.2 average per catch.
Finally, there is Travis Fulgham. Barring some major lapses or phenomenal play by the other contestants for the wideout positions, he should make the squad. If for no other reason than the lack of talent behind Jones, Golladay, and Amendola.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bob Quinn bring in another new face or two that have experience if the right ones are available. But for the time being it is an interesting race that will probably come down to a photo finish.
If the injury bug were to devastate the receiving corps again, one would think, at least at this time, that it would be fatal. Yet the tight end group could actually be capable of coming to the rescue. As a matter of fact, there is a very good possibility the teams leading receiver this year might be a tight end.
So while there are many question marks that surround the wideouts, there are also many reasons to believe that the tight end group could be one of the team’s strengths and could aid the passing game while the Lions try to develop some youngsters on the outside.
One way or another the final receiver spots are up for grabs and all the candidates fall under the categories of ‘inexperienced’ and ‘unknown’. What does that mean? It means that barring any new acquisitions, the receiving corps will be filled out with the most talented players who also happen to be the best of the least.
How quickly those final receivers learn their craft and are able to step up and contribute, if needed, could very well become the difference between the playoffs or bust.