Lions undrafted rookie wide receiver Chase Cota stakes his claim with excellent preseason opener performance

Dylan Drummond has been the Lions rookie UDFA making the most noise thus far, but Chase Cota entered the conversation during Friday night's preseason opener.
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Dylan Drummond has been the clear headliner at Detroit Lions training camp among undrafted rookie wide receivers. It has gotten to a point he has to be put on 53-man roster projections. Drummond has made it easy to forget about Chase Cota, the undrafted rookie receiver out of Oregon.

Until Friday night against the Giants. Cota had a game-high four receptions for 60 yards during the Lions' 21-16 preseason opener win. His size (6-foot-4) stands out, but he showed a variety of skills in a preseason showcase opportunity.

After the game, via MLive, head coach Dan Campbell had a label for Cota.

"I would say he’s the quiet sleeper because I think he’s done some things that -- every day, it’s positive, but it’s just kinda right under the radar,” Campbell said. “It’s more like, the guy really doesn’t mess things up, and then today he shows up and makes these plays that catch your eye. So when you get a guy who’s where he’s supposed to be, he’s accountable, he can really play all the positions, and now he’s making these plays, starting to produce. It’s hard not to see it."

Chase Cota making push for spot on the Lions roster

Campbell added that Cota climbing the depth chart, with Friday night's showing a public culmination.

"Let’s bump him up a little bit, get him a better group, a better comp and let’s see where he can go,” Campbell said.

Cota has been working with the second and third-team offense during camp. He met with quarterback Nate Sudfeld for offseason throwing sessions in Bend, Oregon, which surely helped foster their connection against the Giants. Cota talked about that after the game.

"Yeah, I’ve gotten a decent amount of reps with him,” “But, like, it’s always kind of been like -- We’re just close like off the field. This summer, we threw together in Bend, Oregon, because I’m from there. So he spends a lot of time there. We just have nice chemistry off the field. Like, just, like, I don’t know. It translated on the field today."

Chase Cota

Cota spent four seasons at UCLA and one at Oregon, without big production overall. But he did average at least 13.8 yards per catch in three of four non-COVID impacted seasons, so there's surely some untapped potential.

Cota may not see quite as much action in the second preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, with starters likely to play some. But he had an opportunity put in front of him on Friday night, and he put himself in the conversation for a roster spot.

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