Lions general manager Brad Holmes recently defended the trade, and wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El has now reflected the front office’s belief in Trinity Benson.
Strapped for wide receiver depth, Lions general manager Brad Holmes sent fifth and seventh-round picks to the Denver Broncos for wide receiver Trinity Benson and a sixth-round pick just before the 2021 season started.
In eight games this season, Benson had 10 receptions for 103 yards and he was active for just two games after the Week 9 bye. When asked about the trade on 97.1 The Ticket last month, Holmes defended the move.
"When we acquired Trinity we knew that he had a lot of upside, but we knew that he was a developmental player that was raw,” Holmes said. “Knowing that he was young, the intent on Trinity was not 2021. It was like, ‘If he could contribute, great. If he needs a little more time to learn a new system kinda coming in late, then that’s what he’ll do.’”"
All of Holmes’ defense of the Benson trade is fair. Before this season, he had never played an NFL regular season snap. But he also lost some development opportunities by barely playing over the final nine games.
Antwaan Randle El backs up the belief in Trinity Benson
Last week at the Senior Bowl, via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, Lions wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El spoke about Benson.
"He is still piquing my interest,” Randle El said this week. “…You see the speed, you see the route-running, you see the catching ability, especially balls on the sideline, the deep outs and stuff like that, and he threatens you. If you’re playing defense against him, he threatens you, in terms of the DB getting out of your backpedal and stuff like that. We see those things.”"
The Lions will be in the market for wide receivers this offseason, and Randle El himself said he’d like to see three added via the draft and free agency. In-house free agents Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond are candidates to be brought back too.
The Lions front office and coaching staff can speak about the belief they have in Benson’s potential all they’d like. But when it comes down it heading toward next season, the likely numbers game at wide receiver means he’ll be relegated to the practice squad. Or on another team’s roster.