NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Wide receivers

Posted Feb 20, 2013 lead writer Tim Twentyman takes a look at his top wide receiver prospects to work out at this week's NFL Scouting Combine.

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 Calvin Johnson.

The Lions have some candidates that can fit the bill in Kris Durham and Patrick Edwards; while receivers Ryan Broyles, Nate Burleson and Mike Thomas are more naturally effective in the slot.

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

Tavon Austin, 5-9, 174, West Virginia

Best trait: Versatility

Concern: Durability

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 Jahvid Best-type role? He might be the best return man in the draft, too.

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

Concern: Strength

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

Best trait: Can play outside or in slot
Concern: Frame
The skinny: One of the quickest players at the position. He should excel in drill work down in Indianapolis. He'll have to add some muscle to his frame, but he's a terrific athlete.

Robert Woods, 6-1, 190, USC

Best trait: Route running

Concern: Durability

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

Concern: Production

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.