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.
Here’s a surprise, the Lions met with the one of the fastest WR in college football https://t.co/NqWr8B6AVu— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) March 25, 2021
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.
I agree with this. Paye tested incredibly, as expected. But Nico Collins shined where he was supposed to and then kept excelling. Michigan didn’t do him any favors in 2019 with Shaw Patterson and then he opt’d out last season, so he improved his stock today. https://t.co/kEQeC25YoO— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) March 26, 2021
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.
D'Wayne Eskridge is fast. But he says he wanted to run even faster, despite posting an impressive unofficial 40-yard dash time at Western Michigan's Pro Day. https://t.co/j8pH3MpuN7— BattleCreek Enquirer (@bcenquirer) March 26, 2021
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:
Campbell: "How do we build this core foundation of guys that we know are our guys, and in four years we’re going to be paying to stay with us? Paying these guys because they’re the core foundation. ... You build this thing properly and more are drawn to stay."— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) March 25, 2021
- 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:
Art Rooney II on a fan call about a 17-game schedule: "The 17 game schedule, I think, will work out well. This year will be the first year for it. We’ll get a chance to see how it goes. I think we’ll reduce the preseason by one game."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 25, 2021
- Some former Lions news: Oday Aboushi’s contract details indicate a small raise in 2021 from the Chargers compared to what he made in 2020 with the Lions. Also, while you may have already heard that safety Damontae Kazee signed with the Cowboys instead of the Lions, another safety also agreed to terms with the Cowboys. Jayron Kearse, who was on the Lions roster but waived late in the 2020 season, will also join the Cowboys on a one-year deal.
- Last season, Matthew Stafford got rid of the ball relatively quickly considering how far down the field he was throwing:
How Tom Brady adapted to Arians' downfield offense without losing his ability to get rid of the ball quickly is one the most impressive things we've seen from a QB, let alone a 43-year old QB, I think. pic.twitter.com/Pha4o03DXt— Moo (@PFF_Moo) March 25, 2021
- Longtime NFL on FOX play-by-play announcer and all-around sports broadcasting legend Dick Stockton is retiring.
- 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.
Love this photo from the 1936 game between the College All-Stars & the defending #NFL champ #Lions. You've got Jay Berwanger (99) & Riley Smith (25) leading the blocking for Bill Shakespeare (63). Those guys went 1-2-3 in the draft that year. Find another action shot like this! pic.twitter.com/z0fVYL6kig— Dan Daly (@dandalyonsports) March 25, 2021