The release of Titus Young has put the Lions in the unenviable position of having to look for help at receiver once again.
Young was cut loose after repeated on- and off-the-field issues that finally had Lions general manager Martin Mayhew saying enough is enough.
Unfortunately, Young’s dismissal has left a hole on the outside opposite All-Pro
The Lions are more on the lookout for a player who can stretch the field and make plays down the field, which Young provided in his short time in Detroit.
The free agency process begins March 12. That’s one way to go when looking for a player with a specific role and proven track record, but it’s also the more expensive route for a team looking to fill a number of holes.
April’s NFL Draft is also an option, and the Lions will get a closer look at some of the best talent available at this week’s NFL Combine.
This isn’t an elite batch of receivers, but there’s some great value here and some players who fit the job description for what the Lions are on the lookout for.
Cordarrelle Patterson, 6-3, 205, Tennessee
Best trait: Full package
Concern: Doesn’t poses great hands
The skinny: He’s got a complete game and might end up being the best receiver in the draft. He’s not likely to be on the board when the draft comes back around to the Lions in the second round, and it seems very unlikely they’d use the No. 5 pick on a receiver who isn’t a Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green.
Tavon Austin, 5-9, 174, West Virginia
Best trait: Versatility
The skinny: He might be the most explosive receiver in the bunch. The Lions have to love his versatility in the fact that he had 1,289 receiving yards, 643 rushing yards and 978 return yards with 17 total touchdowns in 2012. He’s the full package. Probably not an outside receiver, per se, but rather a really good player who can make plays in a lot of difference ways. Maybe a
Terrance Williams, 6-2, 205, Baylor
Best trait: Strength
Concern: Scheme receiver
The skinny: Williams did very well for himself at the Senior Bowl, consistently getting down field in one-on-one drills with defensive backs and also in seven-on-seven drills. There’s no denying his production at Baylor last year -- 97 catches for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns with an 18.9-yard average.
DeAndre Hopkins, 5-11, 205, Clemson
Best trait: Production
Concern: Doesn’t have great size
The skinny: Hopkins re-wrote the Clemson record books in 2012 with 18 receiving touchdowns. He was a big-play threat down the field, averaging 17.1 yards per reception. That’s exactly the kind of downfield production the Lions are looking for.
Keenan Allen, 6-3, 205, California
Best trait: Ball skills
Concern: Doesn’t posses elite speed
The skinny: Time and time again you see Allen win jump balls with defenders as he possesses very good ball skills. He’s not an burner down the sidelines, but his size and ball skills seem to make up for that.
Quinton Patton, 6-2, 195, Louisiana Tech
Best trait: Quickness
The skinny: The thing that made Titus Young so good in the Lions offense is that he had a rare combination of speed and quickness, which are two very different things for a receiver. Patton has good size and down at the Senior Bowl showed that he was quick enough to separate from defenders and also fast enough to run by them. He had 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012.
Markus Wheaton, 6-0, 182, Oregon State
Robert Woods, 6-1, 190, USC
Best trait: Route running
The skinny: Woods caught 76 passes for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns last year and is in that second- to third-round range of the draft. He’s a lean receiver, but looks like a very good route runner and could be a very good compliment to a No. 1 receiver somewhere.
Marquis Goodwin, 5-9, 177, Texas
Best trait: World-class speed
The skinny: I’m just going to throw this one out there because it intrigues me. The track and field long jumper and sprinter competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He had 25 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns this past season with 181 yards rushing and three more scores. He’s not polished in any way, shape, or form, but he can certainly stretch the field opposite Calvin Johnson. He’s a late-round prospect.