Lions Sign Record-Setting WR Who Turned Heads After Converting From QB

Jalon Calhoun

Getty Jalon Calhoun celebrates during a Duke football game.

The Detroit Lions got to work quickly after the NFL Draft ended, signing former Duke wide receiver Jalon Calhoun to add depth to their receiver room.

Heavy Sports insider Matt Lombardo reported just after the draft ended that the Lions reached a deal with Calhoun, who played quarterback in high school before converting to wide receiver and earning buzz during his time at Duke.

The Lions did not pick a wide receiver with any of their six selections in the draft, but now add Calhoun as a potential depth piece and kick returner.

Jalon Calhoun Finished Strong Career in ACC

Calhoun had a strong career at Duke, becoming the sixth player in school history to record 3,000 career receiving yards and the first ever to register at least 700 yards in back-to-back seasons. Calhoun finished his collegiate career with 253 receptions for 3,026 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Kyle Meinke of noted that Calhoun has the chance to make an impact on special teams in Detroit.

“Calhoun (5-foot-10 and 186 pounds) also has return potential, returning 26 punts for 258 yards, an average of 9.9 a pop,” Meinke wrote.

Calhoun had been named to a list of the top undrafted free agents compiled by’s Chad Reuter, ranking No. 11.

Some analysts believed the Lions would target a wide receiver in the draft. The Athletic’s Colton Pouncy predicted that the Lions would trade out of the first round, grabbing Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman in the second round.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projected the Lions to take South Carolina receiver Xavier Legette with their first-round pick. Kiper noted that the Lions had addressed many of their roster holes ahead of the NFL Draft, giving them leeway to pick the best player available rather than filling needs.

“How good is this Detroit roster? General manager Brad Holmes has done a stellar job since he was hired in 2021,” Kiper wrote. “He filled the Lions’ biggest offseason hole with the trade for underrated cornerback Carlton Davis, which gives him some flexibility here. I’d like to see the Lions add another playmaker for quarterback Jared Goff.”

Lions Make Big Move at Wide Receiver

The Lions already addressed the top of their wide receiver room this offseason, signing Amon-Ra St. Brown to a contract extension that will keep him in Detroit through the 2028 season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the 4-year contract is worth more than $120 million, including $77 million guaranteed — the most ever for a wide receiver.

As’s Meinke noted, St. Brown had his own humble beginning in the NFL.

“He was considered too small and too slow to be among the first 111 picks in his draft class, before eventually being selected by the team that had gone longer without a playoff win than any other,” Meinke wrote. “Now he’s No. 3 on the all-time catches list through three seasons, while Detroit is coming off its first berth in the NFC championship game since nearly a decade before the Sun God was born.”

St. Brown spoke about his unusual journey to stardom on April 26, during the second round of the draft being held in Detroit.

“I would just say the whole journey that I’ve had is surprising,” St. Brown said, via “… Just seeing everything unfold how it did and the timing of it just being like exactly three years ago, just everything. For me, it’s like like a Cinderella story. It’s perfect. So, that’s really what I meant, like the whole journey, the whole story, it seems unreal.”

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