Ratley was a 2018 sixth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns back when John Dorsey was their general manager. Dorsey, of course, is now a senior personnel executive for the Lions, so he’s likely scouted Ratley quite heavily. After two years in Cleveland, he was waived at the beginning of the 2020 season. From there, he spent a month with the Giants and the rest of the season on the Texans’ practice squad.
In his three years in the NFL, Ratley has made 31 game appearances and six starts. In that time, he’s caught just 29 passes for 407 yards and a touchdown.
Ratley becomes the fourth new wide receiver the Lions are adding this free agency period. They’ve already signed Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman, and they’ll reportedly be signing Kalif Raymond, as well.
All four of these signings have one thing in common: Speed. Like the rest of them, Ratley has speed in spades, reportedly running a 4.39 40-yard dash during his pro day three years ago.
With pick 175 in the 2018 NFL Draft, the #Browns selected Damion Ratley, WR, Texas A&M.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 23, 2019
He posted an elite #RAS with good size, great speed, great explosiveness, good agility at the WR position.#Browns pic.twitter.com/filhoXZPwO
Ratley has a little inside-outside versatility, meaning he could potentially contend for Detroit’s slot receiver position or provide depth on the outside behind both Williams and Perriman—he was used both as a deep threat and on screens while in Cleveland.
Ratley was waived by the Houston Texans last week, so he will not count against the Lions’ compensatory pick formula, no matter what the contract terms are.
The Lions also confirmed the signing of linebacker Alex Anzalone, which we wrote more about here.