The Detroit Lions enter training camp with a deep receiving corps, headed by Calvin Johnson and newly arrived Golden Tate.
Calvin Johnson has emerged as the best receiver in the NFL, and he has been widely considered the MVP of the entire Lions team and even the entire league by some.
The four-time Pro Bowl receiver nearly eclipsed 2,000 yards in 2012, and he has caught at least 12 touchdown passes four times in his career.
Johnson’s ability to be a game changer has concealed holes that were present in the Lions’ receiving corps. Nate Burleson is a solid complementary receiver, but he did not cut it as a No. 2 and could not stay healthy.
Burleson and Ryan Broyles were both out with injuries last season, so quarterback Matthew Stafford was forced to deal with Kris Durham as his No. 2 receiver.
The Lions dealt with this issue by signing Golden Tate to a five-year, $31 million deal. Tate enjoyed a career season with the Seattle Seahawks that allowed him to win a Super Bowl and cash in on his productive 2013 season.
The former Seahawk is always a threat to gain extra yards after the catch, so Johnson may get a break from double and triple coverages from time to time.
The depth at wide receiver is still somewhat of a concern for the Lions though. Broyles and Durham offer the most experience, and Jeremy Ross will stick around for returning duties.
T.J. Jones was selected in the sixth round of the draft out of Notre Dame, and he may wind up being a draft-day steal as he posted significant numbers in his senior season(70 catches, 1,108 yards and nine touchdowns). He also has speed to boot, as demonstrated by his two rushing touchdowns.
Since there is a plethora of talent in the receiving corps, it will not be a surprise if the Lions keep six receivers on their roster. They will definitely keep five, but Durham will find himself on the bubble since he has less upside than everyone else.