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Draft analysts high on this year's wide receiver class

INDIANAPOLIS – The Detroit Lions are likely to re-sign veteran wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to a contract extension this offseason. St. Brown earned All-Pro status this past season and is one of the most productive receivers in the game.

Jameson Williams is headed into his third season in 2024 after coming on really strong the second half of this season to become a steady contributor. Lions head coach Dan Campbell has big expectations for Williams.

"You could see by the end of the year, we really felt like he started to come into his own," Campbell said of Williams this week at the Combine. "He is going to push to be a full-time starter now. That's what we're looking for."

Detroit also returns Kalif Raymond and last year's seventh-round pick, Antoine Green, but veterans Josh Reynolds and Donovan Peoples-Jones are both unrestricted free agents. Depending on how things go in free agency with those two, there could be space to add competition to the receiver room via the draft.

Most draft experts agree the deepest and most talented position group in this year's draft class are the wide receivers. And they come in every shape, size and skillset.

"Wide receiver hits that mark," NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein told this week. "The top three wide receivers are a cut above everyone else, but I think the real strength of this draft is when you get into the second round and third round Day 2.

"I think you are going to find some good starters and different types. You've got some good route runners in there with speed. Whatever you are looking for we've got it in this combine. If you want a wide receiver Day 2 and into Day 3 is going to be great for you."

Lions general manager Brad Holmes sticks to his draft board and over the last three draft cycles has brought in good football players and culture fits vs. reaching on a less talented player to fill specific needs. With how talented this receiver class is there could certainly be a point where a receiver is the most talented player on Holmes' board when he's on the clock. NFL media analyst Daniel Jeremiah has 12 receivers among his Top 50 prospects.

Detroit currently has three picks on Day 2 of the draft (No. 61, 73 & 92). Adonai Mitchell (Texas), Keon Coleman (Florida State) and Troy Franklin (Oregon) are projected Day 2 receivers who are 6-foot-3 and taller and would give the Lions some size that is lacking in that room.

Ricky Pearsall (Florida), Roman Wilson (Michigan), Ladd McConkey (Georgia), Malachi Corley (Western Kentucky) and Jermaine Burton (Alabama) are smaller receivers but should all run well and all have a track record of production.

"I think I'll run in the low 4.3s," Wilson said Friday of his expected 40-yard dash time. "I'd really like to run in the 4.2s but being humble I'll say low 4.3."

It's not a glaring need for Detroit, but there's room to add at the position, and this is going to be a great draft to potentially get impact players into Day 3.

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