The first word that comes to mind when you think of the wide receiver position has to be diva. The Detroit Lions wide receivers do not fit that prototypical diva role, and that can actually be a great thing for the locker room.
This group of receivers is arguably one of the most balanced groups Detroit has had since the 1996 season. That group consisted of Herman Moore, Johnnie Morton and Brett Perriman.
The great Herman Moore had 106 catches for 1,296 yards and nine touchdowns. Morton caught 55 balls for 714 yards and six touchdowns. Perriman hauled in 94 passes for 1,021 yards and five touchdowns.
For those who do not know Moore’s greatness, he was one of the great red zone threats and amassed 670 receptions for 9,174 yards and 62 touchdowns in 12 seasons.
The 1995 and 1996 season is in the discussion for the two best seasons ever had by a receiver duo (Herman Moore and Brett Perriman) in NFL history. Perriman had 202 catches for 2,509 yards and 14 touchdowns. Moore brought in 229 passes for 2,982 yards and 23 touchdowns. That puts their combined totals at 431 catches and 5,491 yards with 37 touchdowns.
Marvin Jones Jr.: Since signing a free agent deal to join the Lions in 2016, Jones has flashed moments of greatness. He has shown he has the ability to take the top off the defense.
In two seasons, Jones has 116 catches for 2,031 yards and 13 touchdowns. He arrived in Detroit at the perfect time to help fill the shoes of Calvin Johnson, who retired earlier than most expected.
Jones has endeared himself to fans with his ability to get the ball at its highest point. The chemistry he has with Matthew Stafford continues to develop and bring excitement and enthusiasm to the offense. Jones routinely found a way to make himself available when plays would break down, and Stafford had to use his legs to extend the play.
Golden Tate: Golden Tate is another great signing in free agency. Tate has proven to be worth the money spent to bring him in from Seattle.
There have been up and down feelings with Tate as he struggled with dropped passes, and some fans questioned his effort during the 1-7 start to 2016. He upset quite a few fans with his comments in 2015 after a 42-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. In a moment of frustration, he pointedly directed disappointment toward fans for booing and “turning their back on [the team].”
Having said all of that, he has redeemed himself and developed into a leader in the wide receivers meeting room. He has shown he knows what it means now to represent the city of Detroit and its hardworking fans.
Even through all of this turmoil, he has caught at least 90 passes in each of his four seasons in Detroit. He failed to reach 1,000 yards only once (2015). He also has not missed a single game (toughness much appreciated in the Motor City).
Kenny Golladay: The Lions drafted Golladay in the third round of the 2017 draft. He is a promising receiver for the future.
Due to injury, Golladay only appeared in 11 games in his rookie season. However, he was able to catch 28 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns.
He showed off his awesome playmaking ability in Week 1 against the Cardinals. He had four catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately, injuries slowed down his progress and involvement in the offense. The Lions are expecting him to make great strides this offseason as he develops his chemistry with Stafford.
Jones and Tate are just the seventh duo in Lions history to gain over 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Jones accumulated 1,101 yards and Tate had 1,003 yards.
Herman Moore believes the Lions could have one of the scariest passing games in the NFL in 2018. He told detroitlions.com, “It gives you balance with your quarterback because he knows he has options… We had the same rapport with myself and Brett Perriman with Scott Mitchell… Stafford [will not] have to make ill-advised decisions on where to put the football because he feels stressed.”
Factoring in players like Eric Ebron (more on him in the next article) and Theo Riddick as dynamic receivers makes the Lions passing attack even more versatile and dangerous to defenses in 2018.
Overall, the Lions look to have a reliable receiving corps. Detroit had the second lowest dropped ball percentage in the league in 2017, at 3.4 percent. Time will tell if the Lions pursue more depth or if they are comfortable with players like T.J. Jones, Jace Billingsley and Keshawn Martin competing for reps as the fourth receiver on the depth chart.
The wide receiver group in the 2018 NFL draft is not an overwhelming one. Therefore, it would be a shock if the Lions add a receiver in the first two days of the draft.
However, the only receiver worthwhile in the first round would be Calvin Ridley of Alabama. The Lions have much greater needs than a fourth wide receiver though. Either way, this offense should be fun to watch in 2018.
Featured image by Rey Del Rio; AP
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