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Notes: Two local WR prospects fit Detroit Lions’ new mold

They make fast people look not fast.

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Rutgers v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It’s no secret the Detroit Lions are doing something completely different with their wide receivers in the Brad Holmes era. First, there was Tyrell Williams, then Breshad Perriman, now Kalif Raymond, and Damion Ratley. While Raymond is just a bit on the small side, the same cannot be said of 6-foot-4 Williams, 6-foot-2 Perriman, and 6-foot-1 Ratley. What all four of them have in common, though, is that they are all extremely fast.

No longer are the Lions pursuing big frame guys just to fight for the ball like a Kenny Golladay or a Quintez Cephus, they want burners. Ratley, Williams, and Perriman are ultra-high RAS players, and Raymond is a kick returner with tons of speed. The team still needs two or three receivers, so drafting one is a strong possibility. Unsurprisingly, they are looking at really fast receivers.

Today at Michigan’s Pro Day, another tall and fast receiver got a good look by the Lions. 6-foot-4 Nico Collins, who did not play in the 2020 college football season, clocked in at a Tyrell Williams-level speed. While the good Pro Day showing should raise his stock some, Collins was only regarded as a good, but not top-end prospect before now. Given the blend of incredible size and speed now on the books, Collins could be a nice hometown option for Detroit to select on the second day of the draft.

Draft pundits for the past few weeks have been mocking SEC receivers to the Lions at the seventh overall pick, but does the team really need to take one that high? With lots of blazing-fast pass-catchers like Collins available after the first round, maybe not. If the team is in the market for a smaller receiver who can play the slot and do the kinds of things Kalif Raymond can do, there’s another good local prospect with ridiculous speed available in D’Wayne Eskridge.

Eskridge is a track and field champion who ran a 4.38 at his pro day earlier this week. We’ll see if either of these local receiver prospects gets a call from the Lions on draft day, but for now, it’s on to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • An interesting quote from head coach Dan Campbell regarding team-building strategy highlighted by The Athletic’s Chris Burke:

  • If you’ve been following the Detroit Lions for more than a few years, you already know the team has been awful in the past at getting good returns on free agency investments. Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger wrote an article about returns on dollars spent in free agency and included an interesting table with data that appears to be based on the last five seasons. By his wins per dollar metric, the Lions were the second-worst team in the league at increasing their wins total with free agency spending. Of course, it’s kind of hard to post anything good in a wins-to-anything ratio when there aren’t many wins to begin with for more than half the covered period.

  • Looks like we might be trading one preseason game for the extra regular season game:

  • Last season, Matthew Stafford got rid of the ball relatively quickly considering how far down the field he was throwing:

  • This historic photo and caption have got it all: a tie score, the first Heisman trophy winner blocking for a ball-carrier, and the Detroit Lions as defending champions. Although you have to be skeptical about crowd size reporting from that era, the 76,000 attendance for that 1936 exhibition game in Chicago is larger than the official average home attendance for all but three NFL teams in 2019.