Jay Lee had his fair share of suitors after going undrafted in last month's NFL Draft. The rookie receiver said five other teams besides Detroit came calling, but the time Detroit spent with him in the pre-draft process made all the difference in Lee signing with the Lions.
"I had a great feel for the coaching staff," Lee said after last week's open OTA practice. "I was comfortable with it. I had five teams (interested in signing me) but I got to do a private workout (with Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter) and come up here on a visit. I just felt comfortable in this kind of environment."
The seemingly wide-open competition for the last roster spot at receiver certainly had to influence Lee's decision as well. The benefit of being an undrafted free agent vs. a late draft pick is that the UDFA can pick the best situation for him that provides the best opportunity to make a roster.
For Lee, that was in Detroit.
After the retirement of Calvin Johnson this offseason, the Lions signed Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley in free agency to pair with Golden Tate and TJ Jones. But most teams keep five receivers out of camp, and the competition for the final spot seems to be up for the taking at this point.
Lee (6-2, 211) caught 38 passes for 758 yards last year for an average of 19.9 yards per catch. NFL talent evaluators also noted Lee's ability as a blocker, which is something the Lions value in their receivers.
First-round pick (No. 15 overall) Corey Coleman overshadowed Lee in Baylor's offense, which could have played a role in him dropping out of the draft.
The Lions obviously felt very comfortable with how his skillset might translate to their offense, and made Lee a priority free-agent signing right after the draft.
Lee admits there's a "big learning curve" transitioning from the college game to the NFL, but he can see the light at the end of the tunnel as he continues to pick up the offense through OTAs.
He'll likely have to make his mark on special teams first if he's going to make the initial 53-man roster as a reserve receiver, but that's fine by him. He'll do just about anything to prove that 32 teams got it wrong by selecting 253 players in the draft instead of him.
"I just wear a chip on my shoulder," he said. "Come out here and compete."