One of the obvious stars from Saturday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns would have to be Corey Fuller, former sixth-round draft pick from Virginia Tech. Catching a game-winning touchdown pass might be the only thing a Detroit Lions wide receiver, not named Calvin Johnson or Golden Tate, can do for a shot at making the full roster come September.
Currently, the receiving corps has nine players in competition and that number will be cut to five, maybe six. Lately, the competition has been heating up.
Who will make the team:
The two starting positions are solidified this season with Johnson and Tate.
Kevin Ogletree has already made monumental strides to securing his position on the roster with the serious possibility of great playing time throughout the season.
Along with being a quick receiver, Jeremy Ross is also the leading kick returner on this Lions team, making himself virtually irreplaceable.
Kris Durham lined up for Calvin Johnson at the beginning of Saturday’s game. Although he seems to have slipped from contention as the third receiver, the coaches didn’t feel the need to play him an extensive amount this weekend, a sign they like his current role on this team.
Ryan Broyles is the next best receiver on the team. Broyles has been suffering from two serious, back-to-back injuries since last year. Finally proving to be healthy has given the coaching staff confidence in the wide receiver. Jim Caldwell mentioned Broyles when asked which players stood out, explaining the “run after the catch was key.”
I believe there is a fight between Durham and Broyles for the last two roster spots. Assuming the team keeps six receivers, both will make the team. If there are only five receivers, I thought Broyles was closing the gap on Durham who seemed to enter the preseason game with a slight lead on number 84.
Who is on the bubble:
Corey Fuller has been doing well in practice but hasn’t seemed to set himself apart from the rest of the players. Playing in a preseason game with one minute left doesn’t necessarily mean the coaching staff trusts him to win a regular season game. In fact, it shows he has a lot left to prove before earning a roster spot.
My prediction is Fuller won’t make the roster. You can quote me on this but don’t hold it against me. The preseason just started. Fuller has captured enough attention after the win Saturday to potentially be given a greater opportunity with the starters in the future.
I would place Andrew Peacock right behind Fuller if not immediately beside him. Peacock was overlooked in Saturday’s game when the spotlight shifted to the game-winning pass. Peacock was a safe target for the Lions’ quarterbacks throughout the second half. I thought he seemed to be one of the most athletic receivers on the field.
Fuller and Peacock won’t make the team simply because they won’t be able to leap over Durham or Broyles at this stage. Even if they were able to make the jump, we would still have to assume the Lions will want to keep six receivers.
With the addition of Conner Vernon after Monday’s practice and the release of Quintin Payton, the coaching staff is still in serious evaluation stages at the receiver position. We will keep an eye out for additional clues into this position battle.