The Detroit Lions report to Allen Park, Michigan, at various points this week to start the 2017 season -- rookies early in the week and veterans on July 29, leading up to the first day of practice on July 30. To get you ready for that, we'll give a little bit more insight into each position group throughout the week as camp gets ready to get going.
Now we'll look at wide receivers.
Roster locks: Marvin Jones, Tate, Golladay
Watch the rookie: The rookie, of course, is Golladay, the team's third-round pick. He was one of the players who stood out the most during spring workouts with his size, stride and strong hands that seemingly caught everything thrown at him. At 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, Golladay is unlike any other receiver the Lions have. He's a big target who can be a red-zone threat immediately. How he manages camp -- including being hit and seeing opponents in preseason games -- will give an idea of how much he might be able to contribute in 2017, but if he performs well, there's a chance he could see a lot of work in three-receiver sets for the Lions. At the very least, he's a player who projects well in the future for Detroit.
Marvin Jones must bounce back: He might have set a career high with 930 yards and grabbed 55 receptions, the second-best total of his career, but Jones was disappointed in his first season with the Lions. He started off so strong -- a 100-yard and 200-yard game in his first three starts -- and then faded after Week 4 against Chicago. Opponents double-teamed him more and pressed him off the line-of-scrimmage. That's something he didn't have to deal with in Cincinnati, when he had A.J. Green playing opposite of him. Sitting in the visiting locker room after the season-ending loss to Seattle, Jones vowed to come back stronger and better in 2017. If he does, the Lions will have a strong receiving duo. If not, he might get pushed by Golladay for his starting job. But he has the speed, hands and deep capabilities to be a mismatch for Matthew Stafford.
Tate is the key: While fans will look at Golladay and hope for improvement from Jones, Tate is the consistent member of the group. He's had 90 or more catches every year he's been in Detroit and also the first two 1,000-yard seasons of his career. He is a favorite target of Stafford, especially on short-to-intermediate routes, and is one of the slipperiest receivers in the NFL. If he's consistent for another season, a couple things will happen: The Lions should have passing success again, and Tate is going to have to be considered for another lucrative contract. If he's struggling, though, the Lions might have some issues. It's not a coincidence the Lions started winning last season once Tate became more involved in the game plan.
What happens with the depth: Beyond the locks, there are so many questions with this position. TJ Jones is the most tenured player the Lions have among the depth receivers, but he struggled to get playing time last season and was initially cut from the team. Billingsley had a good year on the practice squad but is limited to being a slot receiver. Martin was signed to compete for a slot spot and the returner role, which also has Billingsley, TJ Jones and Abbrederis as possibilities. Abbrederis had a good spring -- perhaps the best of any of the depth receivers -- and if it is based on just that, he goes into camp with a potential inside track. But it's a close overall race. A wild card? Undrafted rookie Ford. He continually made plays during spring workouts. If he has a good training camp, there's a wide open battle perhaps for two slots. But it's way, way, way too early to call now.