In April, Detroit took a flier on Cephus in the fifth round of the draft. One could point to off the field issues and a slow 40-yard dash time as to why he fell this far. Perhaps, in another scenario, he gets drafted much higher.
When you look deeper at his game, multiple strengths make up for the lone weakness. Route running, footwork, and technique replace his lack of game-breaking speed. Very similar to former wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
Of course, a few aspects of his game need improvement. Nevertheless, in his first two professional football games, he looked and played like a starter in this league.
Keep in mind, wide out Kenny Golladay is set to make his return this week against the Arizona Cardinals. Naturally we will see less of Cephus from this point on. This could lead to more opportunities in the slot.
Only 9 percent of his snaps came from the slot so far. It’s possible Detroit isn’t comfortable with him in the slot yet and Golladay and Jones have the outside positions solidified. If offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell wants to get Cephus on the field more, it’s an option he should explore.
Why he’ll become a starter sooner than later.
I tried to refrain from writing on the team’s current state. Nothing has gone right for Detroit so far. In the event that Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn get fired, a rebuild might be in the works.
Whoever the interim GM may be, Marvin Jones becomes a top trade candidate at this year’s deadline. Since he’s on a contract year and the future is uncertain, Jones has no incentive to return to Detroit.
The Lions could ship Jones in fear of losing him for nothing during 2021’s free agency period. Having confidence in Cephus to step up could push this trade idea too.