From now until the draft, we're going to look at each Detroit Lions position group and where things stand as offseason workouts begin this month.
Today continues the series at wide receiver.
What the status of the position group is: Falsely deep. Calvin Johnson is still one of the best in the game -- although he's missed five games over the past two seasons because of injury and was limited in at least three others. Golden Tate had a career year last season and has proven to be the No. 2 (or No. 1A) receiver that the Lions have been looking for.
Beyond those two, there are a bunch of questions. Jeremy Ross didn't do a ton as the No. 3 receiver and could end up with his jobs as both a receiver and returner in jeopardy. Corey Fuller didn't do a ton as Johnson's primary backup but was OK when needed. Healthy for a full season for the first time, Ryan Broyles couldn't get on the field and should have an opportunity to do some depth chart jumping. That said, he's in his fourth season and has been unable to either stay on or even reach the field. TJ Jones missed all of last season because of injury. Skye Dawson and Andrew Peacock were practice squad players last season.
All of this leads to a simple question -- who other than Johnson and Tate are going to be good targets for Matthew Stafford in the offense?
What needs to happen: This is a massively critical year for a lot of the Lions receivers, particularly Fuller, Ross and Broyles. At least one will be on the 2015 roster, but even getting to the 53-man could be a struggle for them. Detroit needs -- perhaps desperately -- one of the three to make the real leap to competent No. 3 receiver, be it on the outside (Fuller) or in the slot (Broyles, Ross). Ideally, Detroit's No. 3 receiver could play all spots, which could give the edge to Ross. The Lions do move Johnson and Tate all over the field, so the need for the No. 3 to do that as well is not quite as high.
The Lions need a deep receiving corps with the offense they are trying to run. Right now, they don't have it, although there could be players there who could make the jump in 2015. If they don't, they are probably going to be out of a job.
Draft priority: Medium-to-high. At some point, Detroit will need to find Johnson's replacement and another complementary receiver. It's just a question whether it'll be in 2015 or in 2016.