The Detroit Lions wide receiver corps has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny. The quality of the group has been called into question by fans, the media, and anyone interested in the NFL or sports personnel. This discussion asks, “What players should the Detroit Lions target if they wanted to accelerate the rebuild with one wide receiver signing?”
First, before we get into our recommendations, we should recognize the contingent of fans who believe that the Lions are fine right now. Either they don’t want to spend the money or draft picks on more talent, they think that we have enough talent as-is, or some amalgamation of both. We get that opinion but if you can make a move that helps us both now and for the future, why wait?
To be fair to them, the media consistently berates or demeans Detroit, so some of the chatter could be your standard “Detroit discount.” However, when you look at the reasons that the wideouts we have are in Detroit, it is telling. All stats are courtesy of Pro Football Reference‘s website, a repository for football statistics and pro football data.
Tyrell Williams has worked with offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn when both were in San Diego but he injured his way out of Las Vegas, his last team; he hasn’t had a great year since 2016, when he had his lone 1,000-yard campaign under Lynn. He has been a third option for the last few years and missed 2020 with an injury.
Breshad Perriman is a former first-round pick who has bounced around after being known for his lightning-quick 4.3-speed coming out of college. Now on his fifth team in six years, the son of former Lions standout, Brett Perriman, is looking for the same kind of second act that his father pulled off in the Motor City. He has been a big-play guy but never had more than 36 receptions and 645 yards receiving in an NFL season.
Beyond the two biggest free-agent signings are some less proven options or players that have never produced much at all. Quintez Cephus, the 2020 fifth-round pick, and rookie 4th-Rounder, Amon-Ra St. Brown, are the guys who offer upside to the wide receiver corps.
Cephus had 349 yards in his first year and flashed talent at points but needs to be more consistent to make a significant impact in 2021.
St. Brown has been tearing up camp and has created some buzz heading into the first preseason game versus Buffalo, Friday, August 13. Speedster slot-return man, Kalif Raymond, has also been the subject of much camp talk and although he isn’t the biggest guy at 5-8, 180-pounds, he looks to be in contention for starter reps.
After those players are depth players trying to earn a spot on the roster. Victor Bolden, Jr., Damion Ratley, Chad Hansen, Geronimo Allison, Tom Kennedy, Sage Surratt, Javon McKinley, and newly-signed Darius Jennings round out the room of hopefuls.
As a whole, though, the Detroit Lions have too much maybe and not enough talent that they can count on. Perriman and Williams have been injury-prone or lackluster, Cephus, St. Brown, and Raymond are almost all potential without experience yet, and the other players with NFL experience haven’t produced much.