How much better is the Detroit Lions roster on offense?

Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions – Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Lions roster depth at receiver pre-camp

Detroit Lions wide receivers

Probably more than almost any other position, this unit is a work-in-progress. For the most part, the men slated to start are on one-year, prove-it deals after losing every starter and major contributor from 2020. Kenny Golladay, the club’s main threat, left in free agency for the New York Giants.

General manager, Brad Holmes, has chosen some speedy replacements, although they are collectively underwhelming in terms of production. While Amon-Ra St. Brown, one of the fourth-round picks is expected to be an immediate contributor, Jonathan Adams and Sage Surratt, both undrafted players, are in a good position to find roster spots or a practice squad placement.

Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman have the appearance of number three options but both are slated to start on the outside. If both are healthy, that has been the biggest problem for both men, they have the requisite skills to threaten the deep parts of the field. Williams’s last stint with Lynn did produce a 1,000-yard season, so Williams could return to some of that form if on the field.

Detroit Lions wide receiver candidates:

Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Amon-Ra St. Brown (R), Quintez Cephus, Damion Ratley, Geronimo Allison, Jonathan “Jay” Adams (R), Kalif Raymond, Sage Surratt (R), Tom Kennedy, Javon McKinley (R), Victor Bolden

The list of players signed after this year dwindles down to just a few names, Cephus, St. Brown, Adams, Surratt, and McKinley, with Tyrell Williams having a remaining $1 million in dead money owed to him after 2021, all figures from Spotrac.

Detroit Lions tight ends

T.J. Hockenson had a great 2020, amassing 723 yards and 6 scores on 67 receptions, according to the Detroit Lions website. He doubled, or better, every stat from the year before. We’re not sure if he would have accomplished that feat if the Lions’ other receivers were healthy but nonetheless, he’s an All-Pro caliber tight end at this point.

Hopefully, we see the offense embrace Hockenson the way San Francisco embraced George Kittle and continue to scheme ways to get him the ball as a regular part of the playbook.

Behind him, the Lions brought back the reliable Darren Fells, who is 35 this year but still producing. After the two of them, there are some other options but it seems unlikely that more than one will stick. Lynn used 11 personnel 71% of the time according to the Sharp Football Stats website, which has accumulated data on personnel groupings for each team.

Detroit Lions tight end candidates:

T.J. Hockenson, Darren Fells, Alize Mack, Brock Wright (R), Hunter Thedford (R), Jake Hausmann (R), and the newly signed Charlie Taumoepeau (R).