The Detroit Lions open training camp on Aug. 3 and with it, the 2015 season will commence. In a change from most seasons, the Lions are coming off a playoff berth and one of the best seasons in franchise history.
Can the Lions repeat that? Each day from now until training camp, we will look at one position group to prepare for the 2015 season.
Position: Wide receiver
Position status: A whole lot of questions
Position thoughts: Start with this. Calvin Johnson and Tate, as long as they are on the field, are two elite-level options for quarterback Matthew Stafford. After that, there’s a lot of mediocrity and a bunch of questions. It could make for a really tight, intriguing competition for the remaining three or four receiver spots, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Moore might have the most talent of the bunch, but he’s coming off a 14-catch season and needs to show that was an aberration versus a massive career decline. Broyles is in a contract year and couldn’t see the field in a rough receiving corps last season. Fuller has potential but needs to grow again as an outside receiver. Ross was the No. 3 last year, but had only 24 receptions last season. Jones is coming off a lost rookie season due to injury and Peacock was a practice squad player last season.
A lot of the issues with receiver could be mitigated if tight end Eric Ebron ends up progressing to be the team’s No. 3 pass-catching target. But considering the Lions haven’t had Calvin Johnson for 16 games in 2013 or 2014, they need to have at least one other reliable option.
What the Lions need to see in camp: Ideally, Detroit would like to see two or three players really separate themselves from the rest to make decisions much easier. If one of them happens to be Ross, who could still end up as the team’s returner, that’s a bonus for Detroit. It would not be surprising if both Calvin Johnson and Tate see little preseason work considering this is the second year in the offense and there is a logjam that needs to be sorted behind them. For the players beyond the No. 3 receiver -- especially if Moore establishes himself there -- special teams is going to be key. So pay attention to any receivers on first-team special-teams units here as this entire jumble sorts itself. If the Lions don’t see enough from some players early, this could be another place where they take a mid-camp shot on a veteran.
Who ends up on the roster: Calvin Johnson, Tate, Fuller, Moore, Ross, Broyles.