clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Camp battles: Who will emerge as the Lions' No. 3 wide receiver?

New, comments

There are several candidates in the mix for the Detroit Lions' No. 3 wide receiver job, but who will ultimately win this camp battle?

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

There's no question about who the top two wide receivers are on the Detroit Lions' roster. Calvin Johnson is still one of the game's best, and Golden Tate showed everybody last year just how good he can be if given consistent opportunities to catch the ball.

Beyond Johnson and Tate, however, basically everything is up in the air right now at wide receiver for the Lions. In fact, the battle for the Lions' No. 3 wide receiver job could be the most intriguing camp competition on the entire roster. The Lions have at least five guys who could potentially make a case for the No. 3 receiving job in training camp, and what happens in this camp battle will likely have a big effect on what the rest of the depth chart looks like at wide receiver.

The candidates

Let's start with last year's No. 3 receiver: Jeremy Ross. Ross is known best as the Lions' returner, but he caught 24 passes for 314 yards and one touchdown last season as the third receiver on the depth chart. Actually, with Johnson missing some time last year because of an injury, Ross actually finished with the second-most snaps at receiver during the regular season (behind only Tate).

Perhaps the player with the best chance of unseating Ross is Lance Moore. Despite only signing with the Lions in May, Moore has already emerged as a top candidate for the No. 3 receiver job given his familiarity with Joe Lombardi's offensive scheme. He spent the first nine years of his career in New Orleans, and after a bit of a down year in Pittsburgh last season, he's looking to bounce back as a member of the Lions.

The other main candidates for the third spot on the depth chart at receiver are Corey Fuller, Ryan Broyles and TJ Jones. Fuller was the No. 4 receiver last year and finished with 14 catches for 212 yards and one touchdown, and perhaps he will take his game to another level in 2015. Broyles, meanwhile, only had two catches for 25 yards in 2014, but that's mainly because he only saw 35 snaps in five games. He was actually healthy for a change, but he just couldn't get on the field. Along the same lines, Jones didn't get on the field at all as a rookie last year given that he spent the entire season on the PUP list. Now that he's healthy, he will have a chance to make his case for the No. 3 receiver job.

Who has the edge right now?

Considering Ross held this role a year ago, my initial thought was that he's probably the favorite going into this camp battle. However, just based on some of the reports from OTAs and last month's minicamp, I get the impression that Moore is going to have more staying power at wide receiver. Plus, it's not like Ross was all that impressive as the No. 3 receiver a year ago, so I'm giving Moore the edge going into training camp.

Previously: Backup quarterback, starting running back, No. 4 running back, starting fullback