|Amon-Ra St. Brown||17||90||912||5|
^with another team *college stats
Best competition: Last couple roster spots
Kudos to Lions second-year general manager Brad Holmes for turning this position group into a strength in just one offseason. Holmes signed a Pro Bowl veteran in Chark, moved up 20 spots in the NFL Draft to select arguably the best receiver in this year's class in Williams, and then re-signed some key players that started to make plays at the end of last season.
The receiver room is expected to be very competitive come training camp, and those last couple spots on the roster will be hard to secure. With Chark, Williams, St. Brown, Reynolds and Raymond pretty secure in the top five spots, it will be really interesting between the rest of the group to see who emerges at No. 6 and No. 7. I include No. 7 because there's a chance Williams (ACL) starts the year on PUP as he rehabs an ACL tear suffered in the National Championship Game.
Cephus, Benson, Kennedy, Pimpleton, Johnson and Sutton will grind all month for what could end up being just one or two spots on the initial 53-man roster. Cephus was a having a terrific start to last season before a collar bone injury ended his season after only five games. He had a great spring and might be the toughest player in that room. Benson, who the Lions traded for before the start of last season, also had a good spring. He has terrific speed and will need to show that off in camp to earn a role. Watch out for Pimpleton among the three undrafted receivers on the roster. He's a burner.
Twentyman's take: I'm really excited for the potential of this group once Williams returns. The Lions are going to take it slow with him and make sure everything is 100 percent before they put him on the field. I know he's itching to get back, but that's the smart play. Hopefully that's sometime in the first month or two of the season.
Williams and Chark provide a vertical threat that was really lacking most of last season. They should be able to dictate some coverage and force defenses to help over the top at times, which will open things up for St. Brown in the slot, T.J. Hockenson at tight end, and D'Andre Swift coming out of the backfield.
I think the addition of Chark and Williams will have a huge impact on St. Brown. He's come back even better in year two, and he could become a security blanket for quarterback Jared Goff over the middle with his ability to win one-on-one matchups. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he finishes with more than 100 catches this season.
Williams can take the roof off with his pure speed, Chark is one of the better 50-50 ball receivers in the game, and St. Brown is a menace in the middle when teams try to cover him one-on-one. Combine that with great depth from Reynolds, who has a terrific rapport with Goff, and Raymond, who is a versatile pass catcher, and the Lions look to have something really cooking in their receiver room in 2022.
View photos of wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown from the 2022 Detroit Lions offseason training program.
By the numbers:
3.2: Percentage of catchable balls dropped by Lions pass catchers last season, tied for fourth lowest in the NFL.
4: Touchdowns of 70-plus yards recorded by Williams last year at Alabama. He had 11 of the 12 longest plays for the Crimson Tide offense last season.
35: Receptions for St. Brown in the month of December last year, the most for a rookie in one month in franchise history.
49: Completions of 20-plus yards for the Lions last season, which ranked 18th in the NFL. Tampa Bay led the league with 76 such receptions.
54.4: Percentage of Detroit's receiving yards in 2021 coming from yards after the catch, which was the third highest percentage in the NFL behind only Kansas City (55.8) and Green Bay (54.9).
60: The Lions had a WR (St. Brown), TE (Hockenson) and RB (Swift) record at least 60 receptions in the same season last year for the first time in team history.
75: Kennedy's 75-yard TD pass Week 18 vs. Green Bay was the longest TD pass by a WR since 1992.
90 & 912: Receptions and receiving yards for St. Brown last year, both Lions rookies records.
Quotable: "We did a good job in terms of the picks we made, and going out and getting Chark," Lions wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El said near the end of the offseason workout program. "We're well on the way to enjoying it. It made our room much more competitive for sure.
"We're talking about the guys that can play – the talent from that perspective, and going and making plays, the physical nature. You have guys who are smart. That's what you want. It's good to have them. We want to take this thing to another level.
"Can't wait to get to training camp. Give us a good break. Freshen up and get ready to go."