Matthew Stafford would love to add a wide receiver that can stretch the field

Posted Apr 19, 2013

With the draft beginning next Thursday, Stafford says he wouldn't mind if the Lions picked up a receiver with speed to play opposite Calvin Johnson

The free agent acquisition of Reggie Bush this offseason filled a very big need for the Lions' offense. In 2012, the Lions ran 855 of a possible 1,160 plays against defenses with six or fewer defenders in the box -- according to ESPN State and Information -- and yet had only four explosive runs of 20-plus yards.

Bush had six of those explosive-type runs by himself in Miami last year. He's expected to bring that added pop to the offense.

Next up on the wish list for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is a receiver with speed opposite Calvin Johnson on the outside.

Calvin JohnsonWR Calvin Johnson

“I think with what we have on the roster right now, I would say somebody that can stretch the field,” Stafford said this week when asked about what kind of receiver he'd like to see if the Lions did indeed add one via the draft.

“In the NFL, more and more today, everyone is looking for that. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing opposite Calvin Johnson or not, you want somebody that can run. This is a game about speed.”

The Lions had plenty of big plays in the passing game in 2012, led by Johnson’s 40 catches of 20-plus yards, but all other Lions wide receivers combined for 16 such plays, led by Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, with five apiece.

With Young no longer on the roster and Broyles recovering from a torn ACL, it’s easy to see why wide receiver still remains a need for the Lions.

The Lions brought in speedy receivers Tavon Austin (West Virginia), Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee), Justin Hunter (Tennessee) and Robert Woods (USC) in the pre-draft process, and don’t think for a moment that Lions general manager Martin Mayhew won’t have his eye on adding another outside threat in next week’s NFL Draft.

“The way I look at it, when you have a quarterback like Matthew Stafford, you want to keep giving him weapons and that’s what we’re going to try and keep doing,” Mayhew said this offseason.