WR Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma) - Round 2, Pick No. 54
After addressing their need for depth on the offensive line in the first round, the expectation going into the second round was for the Detroit Lions to address their need in the secondary. That didn't happen, though. Instead, the Lions shocked everybody by drafting Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles. The pick drew an almost universally negative reaction when it was first made, but fans have started coming around to it since then.
Strengths: Possesses exceptional hands and routinely catches the ball outside his frame. Tough for a player of his size. Doesn't mind getting hit when working the middle. Has returned punts. Broyles is at his best playing out of the slot when he can work over the middle, underneath.
Weaknesses: The big, obvious negative that holds Broyles down is his size. He can have trouble getting open over the top, isn't a jump ball target and won't break many tackles. Has an injury history (torn ACL in 2011, broken collarbone in 2009) and character issues (arrested for stealing gas as a freshman).
The workout may have been somewhat brief, but Broyles came away happy with his performance overall. He had two attempts at the forty yard dash, posting a more than respectable 4.59 and 4.57 (unofficial). Considering most doctors told him to expect an eight to nine month recovery period, to post sub 4.60 forty times less than five months after his surgery was damn impressive.
Isn't a legit number one type wide out and isn't a guy who I would even play on the outside in the NFL. However, has the polish and quickness needed to separate underneath and should be a solid contributor early inside for an NFL offense.
Broyles is polished and consistent. Though undersized, he knows how to get open and make the catch. He could soon be an NFL starter based on his ball skills and route-running ability alone. His feel for space on the field and knack for understanding defenses boosts his value immensely. Even though he displays premier athletic ability, he certainly doesn't make many plays due to his size. He will have to work out of the slot in the NFL, which he was able to do throughout college. Before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in November, Broyles was a second-round talent.
Positives: Reliable and dependable pass catcher who does the little things well. Fluid, adjusts nicely to the throw and easily makes the reception in stride. Quickly transitions from making the catch to running after the reception. Displays outstanding eye/hand coordination, remains focused throughout the action. Consistently extends his hands to offer the quarterback a target. Smooth receiver who effortlessly moves around the field and displays good sense of timing. Terrific special teams player who does an outstanding job setting up punt returns and following blocks everywhere on the field.
Negatives: Lacks a burst and does not play fast. Easily brought down at the point of attack by a single defender. Struggles when battling to make the catch.
What he brings: Broyles is quicker than fast working from the slot as a wide receiver. However, his best attributes are his hands and his toughness working the middle of the field. Assuming he recovers his full strength from his injury, Broyles could end up bringing great return at this point.
How he fits: At first, this doesn't look like a big need for the Lions as they have an interesting group of players. However, Broyles gives them a chance to upgrade at the slot receiver position. In this offense, they run a lot of short to intermediate routes that are fairly low-risk. Broyles is a guy who knows how to get open and work zones. If he can be that slot guy, he can really open up things outside for Calvin Johnson. He gives Matthew Stafford a consistent target.
2008: 46 catches, 687 yards, 6 TD, 30 punt returns, 238 yards, 1 TD
2009: 89 catches, 1,120 yards, 15 TD, 38 punt returns, 492 yards, 1 TD
2010: 131 catches, 1,622 yards, 14 TD, 57 punt returns, 268 yards, 0 TD
2011: 83 catches, 1,157 yards, 10 TD, 36 punt returns, 196 yards, 0 TD
Note: Broyles has the most career receptions (349) in NCAA FBS history and is second all-time in receiving yards (4,586).
- Barry Sanders announces Broyles pick
- Broyles highlights
- Broyles vs. UConn, Florida State, Oklahoma State
- Broyles vs. Texas (2011)
- Broyles vs. Missouri (2011)
- Broyles vs. Kansas State (2011)
- Broyles' record-breaking touchdown reception vs. Kansas (2011)
- Broyles' record-breaking night vs. Kansas (2011)
- Broyles' one-handed touchdown catch vs. UConn (2011 Fiesta Bowl)
- Broyles' punt return touchdown vs. Oklahoma State (2009)
- Broyles vs. Colorado (2010)
- Broyles vs. Oklahoma State (2010)
- Broyles tears his ACL vs. Texas A&M (2011)
- NFL.com's draft profile of Broyles
- ProFootballWeekly's draft profile of Broyles
- Broyles highlights on Fox Sports' draft preview
- Broyles honored by College Football Performance Awards
- Broyles at 2011 College Football Awards
- Interview with Broyles from April 2012
- Broyles on SportsCenter from July 2011
- Interview with Broyles from December 2011
Outlook for 2012
Broyles' contributions in 2012 will depend on how quickly he is able to come back from his ACL injury and be effective. Based on watching video from his pro day, it seems he is definitely ahead of schedule, and if he stays on track, we could see Broyles become yet another weapon for Matthew Stafford in the Lions offense. Stafford already has several, and it is believed that Broyles will be a slot receiver for the Lions and be groomed to eventually take over for Nate Burleson. He could also get work on special teams as a returner once he is 100 percent healthy.