For most Lions fans an ageing Nate Burleson was an unappetising prospect for the teams second WR behind the ever present excellence of Calvin Johnson, for most of those same fans it was a disaster when an accident left him with a fractured arm and a substantial lay off. A natural cry of 'trade' went up from fans, media and most people not Martin Mayhew. The Lions were vindicated with a nice job done on Sunday by the (usually) unreliable Pettigrew and the (usually) remarkably invisible for a big guy Durham. However as much as I'd like Pettigrew to lie up to his potential this is unlikely to be sustainable, here is a look at some of the receivers likely to be options for the Lions when the draft rolls around, all the way in May.
This is assuming that the Lions continue on their current form for the season, ending up around 10 or 11 wins with a pick somewhere in the latter half. This also takes into account the type of receiver the Lions need and the current coaches preference. The Lions don't need a slot type of receiver so De'anthony Thomas isn't on this list and the Lions are asking for a lot of open field blocking from their wideouts this year to help utilise Reggie Bush so all these wideouts need to be able to help with that aspect of the game.
1) Sammy Watkins - He's 90% not going to be available barring an injury or off field concerns which would probably scare off the Lions (thanks Titus) but he would be the downfield threat Mr Young was supposed to have been with the running ability to produce in the screen game the Lions. We can hope he is available but no one should hold out on this one.
2) Mike Evans - The sexy pick at the moment after he Alabama game, he's a redshirt sophomore which normally means he would be back to school but with Johnny Football going pro it's unlikely his draft stock will be this high if he waits for a year. He's a big receiver who can go up and get the ball and has reasonable speed. Matthew Stafford clearly likes throwing to big targets as shown by his overthrow of little Ryan Broyles on Sunday, having a massive catch radius certainly helps when your QB has an off day.
3) Brandon Coleman - The same can be said for Brandon Coleman as Mike Evans, only Coleman is slightly bigger and has shown he can go deep at Rutgers, he looks fast on tape to me but it seems his 40-time will dictate where he goes. His massive frame gives the big catch radius and he has nice hands to make the catch, as well as being able to win a contest down the field or in the red zone. Rutgers is a run first offence and Coleman is used to helping clear the secondary for a back in the manner he would be asked to in Detroit (like Kris Durham is this season). Coleman also seems to have the temperament to be a #2, he went back to school even though it is a run first offence with a bad QB to gain more experience. He could have the highest ceiling out of any pass catcher in the draft.
4) Jordan Matthews - He's a very solid receiver with nigh on impeccable NFL bloodlines but most people see him as more of a possession receiver at the next level, he has been incredibly productive throughout his college career though and would probably be the safest pick you could spend on a WR next May, almost like this years Deandre Hopkins.
Those are probably the four options it appears will be on the table in round 1, other prospect that might move into the picture like Donte Moncreif, Allen Robinson, Kasen Williams, Odell Beckham and Paul Richardson haven't been included as I have a second or third round grade on them right now. Although I think any one of them could blow up the rest of the year/combine/all star games and move into contention. I also haven't forgotten about Fuller stashed in the practice squad, but I expect him to have only really developed enough to be a #3 WR with some deep threat ability. If he comes one strong and we get a good #2 WR then I fear for the defences trying to stop the Lions next year!