As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, we are going to take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. We continue the series with a look at the Lions' wide receivers.
Under contract: Calvin Johnson (2019), Golden Tate (2018), Corey Fuller (2015), Ryan Broyles (2015), TJ Jones (2017), Andrew Peacock (2016), Skye Dawson (2016)
Free agents: Jeremy Ross (ERFA)
By adding Golden Tate last offseason, the Lions finally filled their need for a No. 2 wide receiver who can take some of the pressure off of Calvin Johnson. Actually, Tate exceeded that role by stepping up as the Lions' top receiver when Johnson was out with an injury. Once Johnson returned, the Lions had an impressive one-two punch with Megatron and Tate, and the top of the depth chart at wide receiver is set going forward as a result.
Once you get beyond Johnson and Tate, there's still a lot of uncertainty at this position. Jeremy Ross was basically the No. 3 receiver last year, but he didn't contribute a whole lot on offense. He is expected to be re-signed and will likely go into training camp as the third receiver, No. 1 kick returner and No. 1 punt returner, but there's no guarantee he will hang on to any of those jobs.
Corey Fuller, for example, could be a candidate to move up the depth chart and get more playing time in the future. The Lions seem quite high on his potential, and he showed some flashes last season. The Lions also have Ryan Broyles and TJ Jones, who both didn't have a chance to contribute last year. Jones spent the entire season on the PUP list after having shoulder surgery, while Broyles just couldn't get off the inactives list on a consistent basis. Broyles seemed deserving of more playing time, but he will have to have a strong offseason to get that opportunity.
Finally, the Lions also have Andrew Peacock and Skye Dawson at wide receiver. Dawson joined the practice squad toward the end of 2014, whereas Peacock spent the entire season on it.
Need going forward?
The top two spots at this position are set, but the Lions would definitely benefit from upgrading that No. 3 spot. I can't imagine they will try to make that upgrade happen with a big name in free agency, but if the right opportunity comes along in the draft, it wouldn't be surprising if they take a wide receiver. Adding another pass catcher might seem like overkill, but having that extra depth could really come in handy, especially with injuries becoming more and more common for Megatron.
Previously: Quarterback, running back, fullback