Lions, Linehan see Broyles as a chain-mover

Posted May 30, 2012

There are a lot of college statistics that jump out when looking at Ryan Broyles’ production the last four years at Oklahoma.

The Lions rookie receiver had 349 catches for more than 4,500 yards and 45 touchdowns. But a statistic that jumped out to Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was Broyles’ 13.1 yards per catch average.

“His average per catch for a guy that spent a lot of his college career inside in the slot was pretty lethal,” Linehan said.

“His productivity is the first thing that stuck out in college, but it just wasn’t that he had a lot of catches. He was productive at every level of their offense.

He caught short passes, intermediate passes, deep passes and he wasn’t the biggest guy, but he was explosive.”

Broyles (5-10, 188) will mostly roam the slot for the Lions when he’s 100-percent healed from a torn ACL in his left knee. Broyles is limited right now in Organized Team Activities, but he’s certainly looked the part in the drills and team activities he has been participating in.

“Personally, I thought he had the best understanding and feeling of the middle of the field as a receiver that I’ve seen in a long time,” Linehan said. “He understands the difference between a zone route and a man adjustment to the same route. It takes a long time to teach that to a guy that hasn’t had that.

“He’s definitely got the same feel for the position playing outside, too, so he’s not limited to the slot. I can see him being a guy that can move around and play multiple positions in our offense.”

The Lions used a second-round pick on Broyles because they think he’s a player that can operate in the middle of the field. Linehan referred to Broyles as a chain-mover.

“He’s a guy that can be a great third-down prospect,” he said. “He can be a guy that can be a great matchup prospect that’s going to -- based on our personnel -- not get the No. 1 cornerback covering him because of Calvin (Johnson).”

Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson said it was Broyles’ ability to operate in traffic that stuck out to him on film.

“For a guy like (Broyles), who plays the (slot), one of the strong points is that (he) has to operate in traffic where things get rough inside, where the Ray Lewises hang out,” Jefferson said. “That’s the area he’s going to be in and he has to make plays.

“I’ve seen it time and time again on film with (Broyles). I see he has linebackers bearing down on him and it’s no biggie to go make the catch, get up and go play the next play. This guy just has a knack for making plays.”

The Lions are taking it easy with Broyles, who is just six months off ACL surgery, but they certainly have big plans in place for him when he does get the green light from the doctors, trainers and coaches to join in fully in practice. Those orders could come sometime during training camp.