A Look At Who Is Poised To Become The Detroit Lions Fifth Wide Receiver
At the top of the depth chart, the Lions are set at wide receiver. Marvin Jones and Golden Tate each have a starting position locked down, while Kenny Golladay had a breakout rookie year, solidifying himself as a third receiver with upside to potentially become a starter, and TJ Jones had a good 2017 season himself as the fourth receiver, catching 30 passes for 399 yards and a touchdown.
NFL teams almost always carry at least five wide receivers though, and for good reason. Receivers play a position that experiences a number of injuries, and even someone who starts the year at fifth on the depth chart can end up seeing significant amounts of playing time. So, who are the top candidates to fill that position for the Lions in 2018?
Billingsley has been with the Lions since he was undrafted out of Eastern Oregon University in 2016. He has been on and off of the Lions active roster and practice squad, but has yet to appear in an actual game as a receiver.
Billingsley is a smaller receiver, standing at just 5’9″ and weighing 189 pounds. He was very productive at Eastern Oregon as a gadget player, catching 249 passes for 2596 yards and 23 touchdowns, while also rushing for 1784 yard and 17 touchdowns over his four year collegiate career.
While Billingsley has has the advantage of having been around the Lions organization for two full seasons, that could also be seen as a down side. He’s had an opportunity to make a name for himself for two season but has yet to contribute anything significant to the Lions on the football field.
Alexander is another small school player, having played football at Franklin College. Deontez Alexander was nearly unstoppable at that level of play though. In two seasons, he had 114 receptions for 2133 yard and 33 touchdowns. His average game at Franklin was 5.4 receptions for 101.6 yard and 1.6 touchdowns.
Alexander is a rookie who signed with the Lions after the draft. He received a workout with the team, and was so impressive that they decided to sign him to the 90 man roster.
A bigger receiver, Alexander stands at 6’3″ and weighs 190 pounds. He is very fast, and offers very intriguing potential as a deep threat.
Unlike the previous two players, Powell comes to the Lions undrafted out of the University of Florida. Like Billingsley, Powell is a smaller wide receiver (5’9″, 184 pounds) who was used in a variety of roles in college.
Powell didn’t produce a lot of statistics in college, but that could in part be due to bad quarterback play from the Gators. Powell’s stats over four seasons were 131 receptions for 1330 yard and 9 touchdowns. His best season was in 2017 when he caught 42 passes for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Teo Redding finished a productive career at Bowling Green State before entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent earlier this year. Redding is an interesting physical specimen, with height to play on the outside (6’1″), but lacking in weight (172 pounds).
Redding’s best collegiate season was in 2017 when he caught 45 passes for 624 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also scored 3 touchdowns in each of the previous two seasons, and recorded 423 yards on 31 catches as a junior in 2016.
Dontez Ford joined the Lions as a undrafted free agent last season, and was productive in the preaseason, catching 2 touchdowns. However, that was not enough to make the final roster, and he spent the season on the practice squad.
Ford is yet another big wide receiver, at 6’2″ and 210 pounds. His best collegiate season came in 2015 as a junior, when he made 26 receptions for 505 yards (a very impressive 19.4 yards per reception) and 2 touchdowns. He battled injury in his senior season, but managed to catch 17 passes for 288 yards and 2 more touchdowns.
Bradley Marquez is a very average receiver physically speaking, standing at 6′ and weighing 203 pounds. He had a very solid career in the NCAA, but was signed as an undrafted free agent with the Rams in 2015.
He has played for the Rams in each of the last three seasons, mostly contributing on special teams. He has made 16 tackles and forced 2 fumbles on kick coverage. He has also made 16 catches for 125 yards and no touchdowns in his NFL career as a wide receiver.