Sat, 31 Jul 2021

Lions' competition at receiver is wide open

Detroit Lions
11 Jun 2021, 20:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

No position group on the Detroit Lions roster went through more turnaround this offseason than at wide receiver. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola are gone. The only receiver back from last year's roster who caught a pass in a game is Quintez Cephus.

The Lions signed veterans Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Kalif Raymond and Damion Ratley in free agency, and drafted Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round. Victor Bolden and Tom Kennedy return from practice squad, and there's an opportunity for an undrafted receiver to emerge and earn a roster spot in camp.

It's a completely revamped unit, and there doesn't seem to be a pecking order heading into training camp. It's a wide open competition.

"I think we definitely have a lot of hungry young men in that group because they see opportunity," offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said. "There's really no established guy that's in that room.

"I've had Tyrell Williams in the past, so I'm very familiar with him and what he can do. He was hurt last season, but he's back healthy, he's looking really good. Breshad Perriman is looking really good. I like the competition that's going on in that group right now. We have some pretty good pieces."

Williams is probably the most established of the bunch. He was a 1,000-yard receiver for the Chargers in 2016 and has at least 650 receiving yards in each of the last four seasons he's played. Williams missed all of last year with a shoulder injury.

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"I feel like I am established in this league," Williams said following Thursday's third and final minicamp practice. "It's my seventh year and I've had good years. BP (Perriman) has been around for the same amount of time and has played really well when he's gotten his opportunities. Kalif has been in the league and played in the playoffs.

"I really like our group. I really like the receiving corps. It's a really close group and we all work hard and push each other and we've got some good rookies that have come in. Everyone has a really good opportunity because it is open and everyone is trying to prove themselves."

Williams made his fair share of plays throughout the course of the three-day minicamp in Allen Park this week. Cephus and Bolden were a couple other receivers who stood out. There is no real No. 1 in the group, but head coach Dan Campbell has liked the mix so far this offseason.

"I'll tell you this, there are guys out there that we've been impressed with," Campbell said. "We all have been as a staff just over these last two weeks, really.

"It's a group that's competing every day. What does that mean? Right now, it means that they're getting better. We're trying to identify the guys we can depend on. Out of the guys we can depend on, 'How can we use them? What do they do best and how do we use that skillset?'"

Quarterback Jared Goff mentioned St. Brown and Bolden as two young receivers who have stood out to him during this week's minicamp.

Like Lynn said, there's a lot of opportunity for players in that room to step up and earn roles. That should make training camp and the preseason fun to watch.

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