As the offseason winds down, we're going to project each position on the Detroit Lions depth chart and also take a look at some training camp battles. Next up is the wide receiver position.
Just about the only certainty at wide receiver is at the top of the depth chart. We know that Calvin Johnson is the Lions' No. 1 wide receiver, and we know that Golden Tate will be their No. 2 at the position this year. Barring any injuries, these two players will be the starters at wide receiver.
The rest of the wide receiver depth chart is really anyone's guess at this point. The next few spots are all up for grabs, and it's tough to say that anybody is the favorite to emerge for the No. 3 spot at this point since there are so many question marks.
In the end, I went with Ryan Broyles for the No. 3 spot and Kris Durham for the No. 4 spot. I know that Broyles is coming off another serious leg injury, and perhaps this is wishful thinking more than anything. However, I feel like he's a perfect fit for the slot role in the Lions offense. This would push Durham down to fourth on the depth chart, a spot that is a much better fit for him than the role he had last year. If the Lions are able to limit Durham's snaps, he's not a bad backup to have by any means.
Continuing down the depth chart, there's likely room for only one or two additional players on the 53-man roster at wide receiver. Jeremy Ross should occupy one spot considering he's the Lions' returner and could potentially have an increased role on offense. I could also see guys like TJ Jones and Kevin Ogletree making a push for a roster spot and perhaps even one of those top backup roles. Everybody else seems like a long shot to even make the team.
Camp battle to watch: Ryan Broyles vs. Kris Durham vs. Jeremy Ross vs. TJ Jones vs. Kevin Ogletree
There are going to be a few camp battles taking place at wide receiver, but I think the most intriguing one is for the No. 3 spot at this position, mainly because it's such a wide open race. A healthy Broyles could quickly emerge as the frontrunner, but his health is going to be a huge question mark no matter what. Even if he is able to stay healthy, we don't know if he will be as effective as he was a couple years ago.
Given the uncertainty with Broyles, the door is wide open right now for Durham, Ross, Jones and Ogletree. Durham ended up being the Lions' No. 2 receiver for most of last year, and Ogletree showed a few flashes at times in 2013. Ross also showed some flashes when given a chance to line up on offense, and Jones did a lot of good things at Notre Dame. Any of these players could emerge as the Lions' third option at wide receiver by the time training camp is over, and for the players who don't, they will be involved in a separate battle to simply make the team.