The Detroit Lions shook up their roster in a big way this offseason, and in no place was that shakeup felt more than at the wideout spot.
Coming into 2021, nearly every starter will be different on this spot for the Lions, meaning there will be big change for a new season. That change leads to questions for the position, and some definite uncertainty brewing in 2021 on the field at a critical position.
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With this in mind, not everybody will be buying in on the notion that the team will be improved in 2021 at the position. Certainly, Pro Football Focus could be counted as someone not on the side of that, as they proved in a new ranking piece. Writer Steve Palazzolo ranked every wideout group in the league, and the Lions placed 31st, one spot from the bottom thanks to all the changes they have made.
Interestingly, though, there might have been a bit of light provided for the end of the tunnel.
“The roster overhaul in Detroit has hit the receiving unit hard, and they will have a completely different look in 2021. They’ve become one of the biggest groups in the league with the additions of 6-foot-4 Tyrell Williams, 6-foot-2 Breshad Perriman and 6-foot-3 Geronimo Allison. Williams last played with the Raiders in 2019 and has been an effective big-play threat throughout his career, averaging 16.1 yards per reception.
Perriman is a big-play threat of his own, having averaged 16.5 yards per reception in his career. He has two years with 70.0-plus receiving grades in 2018 and 2019, and this will be another opportunity to show that he can handle a bigger workload. Allison will compete for the No. 3 spot after grading at 61.4 or lower over the last three years. Last year’s fifth-rounder Quintez Cephus and 2021 fourth-rounder Amon-Ra St. Brown will also be in the mix at receiver.
At tight end, T.J. Hockenson has developed nicely and graded at 75.4 overall last season, good for 10th-best among tight ends. Darren Fells also joins the Lions after a career-high 69.4 grade last season with the Texans. He adds even more size to the mix, as the 6-foot-7 270-pounder has developed into a good red-zone threat.
The Lions have overhauled one of the better groups of pass-catchers in the league, and while the names don’t stand out on paper, there’s plenty of potential — and size — in this group.”
It’s interesting that the Lions are cited by Palazzolo as having potential, which is a bit surprising for a team that places 31st on any list. If the Lions come together, though, and get good support from the ground game, they could find a way to be much improved no matter who is set to catch the ball.
At the very least, there’s a bit of upside here for the team and fans to remember.
Top Lions Wideouts to Watch
The Lions have added plenty of players to the mix to ponder this season. Tyrell Williams was one of the most notable moves, but he is far from the only Detroit wideout to watch on the roster who could prove to provide good results. The Lions have plenty of new players in the mix, and nearly all will be intriguing at the position. The Lions have a special looking rookie in Amon-Ra St. Brown, and also have a veteran looking for redemption in the place his father used to play in Breshad Perriman. Additionally, the team has a second-year wideout who could break out in Quintez Cephus, and he is already looking like a good bet to do just that given his offseason work.
The entire group offers some major intrigue, and everyone at wideout understands they have to step up. Regardless of whether that happens or not, some folks still see the position as the biggest weakness the team is currently carrying around even in spite of the potential.
Free Agent Wideouts Lions Could Sign
In order to make the group a bit stronger, what could the Lions do? Obviously, the team could take a look, at signing a veteran free agent in order to ease the burden, and interestingly enough, there’s a good option on the market now in Golden Tate. Tate would make plenty of sense for the team as a veteran who could show the ropes at the position to other young players. Additionally, a wideout like Dede Westbrook could make sense for the Lions given his age and production in the league.
Detroit might be content to ride it out with what they have and see how much potential this group has. Some see that as being the case even in spite of the changes.