4 best wide receiver fits for Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft
3. A.T. Perry, Wake Forest
Perry topped 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons at Wake Forest, with 152 catches and 26 touchdowns over that span. He is on the light side, at 198 pounds, but at 6-foot-3 and 1/2, with long arms (35 inches at the Combine) he’s a downfield threat. Oh and for what it’s worth, he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash and posted a 35-inch vertical jump in Indianapolis.
According to Pro Football Focus (h/t to Russell Brown of Lions Wire), Perry had 10 receptions (28 targets) on downfield passes (20-plus yards) last season, totaling 373 yards with five touchdowns. He’s just not a big YAC guy (164 yards after the catch last year, per PFF), but that should be fine for what the Lions need–an “X” receiver who can stretch the defense.
Drops have been a thing for Perry (17 over the last two seasons, according to PFF), and evaluations point to lackluster ball skills that don’t match his physical frame. But some of his weaknesses feel like they could be coached up at the next level, and let’s remember what Lions wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El said last year about an “X” receiver.
"We’re going to be searching for a guy that can go in and help our offense put this ball down the field and really be a guy that we can — I shouldn’t just say throw it up, but we know backside X, they’re going to roll the coverage to St. Brown on the frontside,” Randle El explained. “We know we can get man one-on-one on the backside, let’s get that ball over there, knowing he’s going to win. That’s the idea behind it.”"
Even with his flaws, Perry could step in right away and be notable contributor for the Lions.