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2023 training camp preview: Wide receiver

On the roster: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, Marvin Jones Jr., Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, Antoine Green, Tom Kennedy, Trinity Benson, Dylan Drummond, Maurice Alexander, Chase Cota

Table inside Article
Name Games Rec. Yards Avg. TD
Amon-Ra St. Brown 16 106 1,161 11.0 6
Jameson Williams 6 1 41 41.0 1
Marvin Jones Jr.^ 16 46 529 11.5 3
Josh Reynolds 14 38 479 12.6 3
Kalif Raymond 17 47 616 13.1 0
Antoine Green* 9 43 798 18.6 7
Tom Kennedy 7 8 141 17.6 0
Trinity Benson 1 0 0 0.0 0
Dylan Drummond* 10 33 525 15.9 3
Maurice Alexander 4 1 7 7.0 0
Chase Cota* 10 36 497 13.8 3

^with another team *college stats

Best competition: Last roster spot(s)

In just two seasons, St. Brown has already established himself as one of the most productive receivers in the game. He's the No. 1 in the room. When Williams returns from a six-game suspension he received to begin the season, he'll give the Lions an elite deep threat. Jones, Reynolds and Raymond are solid veterans with a track record of consistent production.

Detroit kept five receivers on their initial Week 1 roster last season while Williams was on the NFI list recovering from a torn ACL suffered in college. With Williams suspended to begin this season, there's an opening for Green, Kennedy, Benson or someone else to step up and earn a roster spot out of camp.

The Lions drafted Green in the seventh round of this year's NFL Draft. He proved in college he could be a consistent deep threat, averaging 19.0 yards per reception. At 6-foot-2 he gives the Lions some size too.

But don't count Kennedy out. All he does is make plays when given the opportunity. Drummond is a wild card. I thought the undrafted rookie had a terrific spring and put himself in a position to get a look come training camp.

View photos of the Detroit Lions wide receivers heading into training camp.

Twentyman's take: It's too bad Williams will miss the first third of the season due to suspension. Even when he's not catching the football, defenses have to respect his speed. His absence will allow opponents to play the Lions a little bit tighter defensively.

The Lions do have St. Brown and there's no reason not to expect the 2022 Pro Bowler to have another 100-plus catch, 1,000-plus yard season as one of the bright young stars in the league. He makes everyone around him better and has become the clear No. 1 option for quarterback Jared Goff when he needs a play.

The Lions lost DJ Chark in free agency (Carolina) and signed Jones Jr. While Jones Jr. doesn't have Chark's size and pure straight-line speed, he has been one of the best 50-50 ball and tight window pass catchers in this league for nearly a decade.

Raymond doesn't get enough credit for the receiver he is. He had some big catches late in the season last year and finished with 47 receptions for 616 yards.

It's a solid group at receiver for the Lions that will get exponentially better once Williams returns from his suspension Week 7 at Baltimore.

By the numbers:

4 & 5: St. Brown had four games with over 100 receiving yards and five games with at least eight-plus receptions this past season. He is the second Lion in franchise history to have five games with at least eight receptions in consecutive seasons and first to do so since Herman Moore from 1995-96.

5.7: Percentage of dropped passes credited to Lions pass catchers last season, which ranked 21st in the league.

10.9: Average yards gained per touch for St. Brown in 2022. Only Justin Jefferson (13.9), Tyreek Hill (13.8), Stefon Diggs (13.1) and CeeDee Lamb (12.0) averaged more yards per touch.

69: Plays of 20-plus yards generated by the Lions' offense in 2022, the seventh most in the NFL behind only Kansas City (83), Philadelphia (80), San Francisco (75), Miami (72), Buffalo (71) and Jacksonville (70).

171: Rushing yards produced by Lions receivers last season, a new franchise record and the third most among any receiver group in the league last year.

600: The Lions ran 1,092 offensive plays this season, producing 600 motions and 169 shifts on those plays (70.4 percent). That percentage was the third highest in the NFL.

Quotable: "We want to have him running all the routes, he can do all that," Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson told the Twentyman in the Huddle podcast this year of how he plans to evolve St. Brown's role in his offense even more in 2023.

"He's an ultimate chess piece that is fun. And we're going to continue to push the limits with him. I think he's made it well known; he wants to get that deep ball going a little bit this year. So, we'll see what we can do."

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