Going into last month’s NFL draft, the position of wide receiver was arguably the great single team need for the Detroit Lions. Yet, the new regime in the Motor City refused to address that need until day three of the annual collegiate selection event.
And while the selection of USC wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round seems to have been well-received, the Lions failed to land a marquee name that will likely leave this group going into the regular season as the lowest-ranked receiver corps in the NFL.
That certainly doesn’t bode well for new quarterback Jared Goff in his first season in Detroit. While Motown certainly has offensive weapons like Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson and second-year running back D’Andre Swift for Goff to rely on, they certainly can’t replace the kind of production a stellar receiving corps can provide.
So far, it appears the Lions are willing to go out on a limb for some of their free-agent acquisitions like veteran wide receiver Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman to step up and become those missing marquee names for Detroit. But will their presence prevent the Lions from looking to upgrade the position between now and when their regular season kicks off on Sept. 12?
Here’s what Around the NFL Writer Marc Sessler on NFL.com in his article highlighting wide receiver as the Lions’ biggest remaining offseason priority.
"” … it’s tough to love Goff’s chances on paper. His starting targets pre-draft were Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus. Fourth-round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown is a lock for heavy snaps, but the group is missing a proven alpha … Goff throwing to ghosts suggests a ponderous season ahead.”"
As we pointed out in a previous article, the free-agent market is absent of any true alpha names Detroit would likely be interested in. Veterans like Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, and Dede Westbrook are available but could be viewed as progress stoppers for a young rookie like St. Brown.
The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly willing to trade their once alpha receiver in Julio Jones. But it seems unlikely the rebuilding Lions would be willing to make such a move for a high-priced 32-year old wideout coming off an injury-plagued season resulting in his lowest statistical output since 2013.
The Detroit Lions may very well not be done addressing their needs at wide receiver. But it will likely come down to their options. As NFL teams begin to shave down their rosters this summer, the Lions may have an opportunity to add a potential alpha to their receiver corps. But if they don’t, they seem more than prepared to roll with their current crop of wideouts.