Over the past few years, it seemed like the Detroit Lions had fully rebounded from the sudden retirement of Calvin Johnson. Marvin Jones and Golden Tate led a one-two punch on offense that saw the Lions’ aerial attack earn some well-deserved recognition.
The drafting of Kenny Golladay took the wide receiver room to the next step, and it seemed like the Lions were pretty much set at starter. Obviously, things took a turn when Tate was traded away midseason in 2018, but were things always that rosy? And how does the wide receiver corps look for 2019?
Well, according to FantasyData.com and CBS Sports contributor, Lions receivers—past and present—had a serious catching problem last season. Take look:
Now let's look at the worst drop rate for WRs in 2018 (50+ targets):— Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL) July 6, 2019
Devin Funchess 13.9%
Laquon Treadwell 13.2%
John Ross 12.1%
Keelan Cole 10%
Randall Cobb 9.8%
Demaryius Thomas 9%
Kelvin Benjamin 9%
Corey Davis 8.9%
Golden Tate 8.8%
Antonio Calloway 8.6%
Josh Gordon 8.5%
Okay, that’s just Golden Tate and he went through a quarterback change last year. No problem. Why did you even bring this up, Jeremy?
Well, inner-self, it’s not just him, unfortunately.
WRs with the worst hands last season (50+ targets) per True Catch Rate:— Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL) July 6, 2019
(Note: I don’t have a direct definition of True Catch Rate is, but I know it does not include uncatchable passes)
This list includes two Lions players currently on the roster: Marvin Jones Jr. and Jermaine Kearse.
Jones’ inclusion on the list is particularly interesting because back in his college days, he developed a reputation of having problems with drops. Almost immediately, Jones put that notion to bed in the NFL with one of the best (lowest) drop rates in the league.
Obviously, last year was a bit of a step back for Jones, but taking into account his full resume, I’m not sure there’s too much to worry about. As for Kearse, we’ll see how he does with a new quarterback.
- While we’re on the topic of Marvin Jones, Pro Football Focus’ Daniel Rymer wonders if his deep-ball catch rate can improve back to 2017 levels this season.
- C.J. Anderson is being thought of as mostly a power, late-down back in Detroit, but the Lions may want to consider his value on early downs, too:
Among the 43 NFL backs with at least 200 early-down rushes in the last two years, Todd Gurley ranks first in percentage of carries resulting in gains of 5+ yards (40.7%).— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) July 7, 2019
CJ Anderson ranks second on the list at 39.94%.
- The supplemental draft is coming up, and the Lions reportedly were one of several teams to check out an intriguing option that may actually get drafted: West Virginia receiver Marcus Simms.
- Darius Slay’s footwork should be featured in the Guggenheim:
Smooth transitions...@_bigplayslay23— Footwork_King (@footwork_king1) July 7, 2019
Cornerback @Lions pic.twitter.com/lH1smhoRZy
- The Draft Network redrafted the 2013 class, and three Lions picks ended up in the first round: Ezekiel Ansah, Darius Slay and Larry Warford. That’s an impressive haul for former Lions GM Martin Mayhew—and it doesn’t even account for Theo Riddick or Sam Martin.