The Detroit Lions don’t have a receiver that ranks among the top 10 in yards this season. In the last set of voting, there were no Lions receivers among the top 10 in Pro Bowl votes.
But according to All Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, the Lions have two of the five most underrated receivers in the league: Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate.
Sherman penned an article for The Players’ Tribune in which he broke down the film of some of his favorite, and most difficult matchups he’s faced in his storied career. Tate and Jones made the short list, along with Stefon Diggs, Jermaine Kearse and Julian Edelman.
Tate, who obviously played a little ball alongside Sherman in Seattle, currently ranks 14th in receiving yards (852), but leads all receivers in yards after the catch (446). That’s what makes him so special, Sherman said.
“What makes Golden Tate so dangerous is that once he catches the ball, he’s as elusive as any receiver in the league,” Sherman wrote. “He breaks a ton of tackles, and he just knows how to make guys miss.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Tate has 20 total broken tackles in 2017, seven more than any other receiver.
“I remember when he was still with us in Seattle and he caught a screen against the Vikings where he made four dudes miss — made two of them run into each other, which was pretty funny,” Sherman wrote.
But Tate isn’t even the leading receiver in Detroit. Those honors go to Marvin Jones Jr. whose 885 receiving yards ranks him 12th in the league. He’s been a big-play threat this year, hauling in 17 receptions of 20+ yards (seventh most) and eight touchdowns (fifth). How does he do it? It’s all in the details, according to Sherman.
Sherman details a play from 2016’s Wild Card game against the Seahawks in which Jones may get away with a subtle grab or tug to create last-minute separation for a big 30-yard gain.
“Those little nuances to his game are what make Marvin such a crafty receiver,” Sherman wrote.
But his talents go beyond that. “Throw in the fact that he’s deceptively fast, he’s a smooth route-runner and he has a great set of hands, and he’s always a tough matchup.”
While it’s unlikely that Tate or Jones will get any postseason accolades for their performance this year, it’s nice to see other respected players in the NFL give them the attention they deserve. At this point in time, both Jones and Tate are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons. That kind of accomplishment is rarer than you may think:
Golden Tate & Marvin Jones could be just the third pair of Lions to top 1,000 yards receiving in the same season this millennium https://t.co/XGmtsCqCs3 via @freep— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 14, 2017
So in a season in which a lot has gone wrong, it’s good to see the handful of players that truly shined in 2017 get the recognition they deserve.