As we start to look ahead to training camp, we're going to take a position-by-position look at the Detroit Lions roster. Next up is the wide receiver position. (The final year of each player's contract is listed in parentheses.)
Despite having the best wide receiver in football in Calvin Johnson, one of the Lions' biggest needs this offseason was at the wide receiver position. They needed a solid No. 2 to take some of the pressure off of Megatron, and to solve that problem, they went out and signed Golden Tate. The hope is that he will put an end to the concerns about the No. 2 spot at wide receiver and help take the Lions' passing game to another level.
Beyond Johnson and Tate, there is still a lot of uncertainty. Case in point: Jeremy Ross, Ryan Broyles and TJ Jones all appear to be in the mix for the No. 3/slot receiver role, but there are questions about each player. Can Ross become more than just a returner? Will Broyles finally be able to stay healthy? Will Jones be able to make a real impact as a rookie? At the very least, the Lions need one of these players to emerge this summer.
Continuing down the depth chart, there could be only one or two other spots on the 53-man roster at wide receiver depending on what happens with the slot guys. Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree appear to be the main competitors for those final spots right now, but there are a lot of other guys at this position. Corey Fuller, Pat Edwards and Cody Wilson are back after spending time with the Lions last year, for example, and Naaman Roosevelt and Andrew Peacock joined the team this offseason. Most of these players are just camp bodies, but perhaps someone will come out of nowhere in training camp and really surprise people.
Need going forward?
With the addition of Tate, the Lions' top two is set. Having more talent throughout the rest of the depth chart would certainly be nice for a pass-happy team like the Lions, but keep in mind that Eric Ebron will get a lot of playing time in the slot and out wide as a receiver. Also keep in mind that the Lions have a new offensive scheme that could help increase the efficiency of the passing game.
In other words, barring an injury, it seems unlikely that the Lions will make any notable moves at wide receiver this summer. This could once again be a top need in 2015 if none of the unproven receivers really step it up this year, but for now, the Lions' best bet is really just to give them a shot and hope for the best.