The Detroit Lions have a lot of tough battles ahead as the regular season approaches, but perhaps the closest one will be at wide receiver.
The top three is set with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola as a formidable arsenal. The spots after them? Not so much. The remaining slots—however many that may be—are up for grabs, and the Lions have plenty of competitors.
As a fifth round pick in this past draft, Quintez Cephus is the likeliest candidate to secure a roster spot. The rookie has looked pretty good so far in training camp, and while he is obviously lacking professional experience, he is a safe bet to see snaps on game day. Described by Jeff Okudah as the best receiver he faced, there is a lot of potential for the Lions to develop a solid depth piece.
The logjam at wide receiver only intensifies after Cephus, and it is difficult to say who has a leg up on whom. Marvin Hall and position-swapped Jamal Agnew are the speediest of the bunch, and given the lack of speed from the rest of the receiving corps, one of them is likely to make the roster. The question of whom arises, and both make solid cases. Hall was a deep ball specialist, and while he only amassed seven catches in an injury-shortened season, that septet of grabs turned into 261 yards. That kind of production is not sustainable, but it showcases an explosiveness to his game.
Agnew, meanwhile, is new to the receiver position, having been a cornerback with sparse contributions on offense. However, his value comes as a return specialist, and an elite one at that. With two return touchdowns in 2019, he would seem like a lock to make the team. His spot might be in jeopardy after the Lions drafted Jason Huntley in the fifth round. Agnew might be a superior returner, but Huntley’s extra value at running back might outweigh it.
The remaining receivers on the team might not be impressive as pass catchers, but special teams is an undeniable trait that teams look for when completing their roster. Victor Bolden, Geremy Davis, Tom Kennedy, and Chris Lacy could sneak onto the roster if they impress enough. Keeping a pure special teamer would not be unprecedented either.
In 2018, the Lions opted to keep six wide receivers, one of whom was Bradley Marquez, primarily a special teams player. 2019 had just five offense-oriented receivers, but the roster also featured multiple corners, linebackers, and safeties that could contribute on special teams, such as Mike Ford, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and C.J. Moore. Those special teams slots could be up for grabs this year, and one of the remaining receivers could earn the spot.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
How many receivers will the Lions keep?
My answer: I struggled a lot with this question, but I am leaning towards five.
Golladay, Jones, Amendola, and Cephus are locks in my eyes, barring an unfortunate injury. With opting for four or seven receivers being unlikely, that leaves a spot or two open. Hall and Agnew are unique when it comes to skill set, so the question becomes whether you value Hall’s experience or Agnew’s return abilities more. Regardless, I would give one of them a spot. I am leaning towards Hall.
That leaves a possible sixth spot open should the Lions opt for it. The loser of the Agnew-Hall battle could fight for a special teams role with not only the remaining receivers but the remaining defenders as well. Do you justify keeping both Agnew and Huntley as returners? How about as gunners? Since the sixth receiver will not get many offensive snaps, it all comes down to their special teams abilities.
I think keeping a corner or safety makes more sense than a sixth receiver. They would have the edge with tackling, and given that the Lions have running backs and tight ends that can catch the ball well, wide receiver depth might not be needed. As a result, I think five receivers is the magic number.
How many receivers will the Lions keep?
This poll is closed