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NFL Scouting Combine

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Loaded wide receiver class gives Lions options in draft 

The Lions made the re-signing of Danny Amendola official on Monday, which means the team returns all three of their top receivers from a season ago. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Amendola combined to catch 189 passes for 2,647 yards and 21 touchdowns last season.

But none of those three are currently signed past the 2020 season. Amendola will turn 35 next season and Jones turns 30 next month, meaning the Lions could look to this year's NFL Draft to get younger at the position.

It just so happens it's a good draft to do so. This draft is loaded at receiver.

Former NFL scout and current NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has given 27 different receivers a grade in the first three rounds, highlighting just how talented and deep this class of pass catchers is.

View photos media availability at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on Tues., Feb 25, 2020 in Indianapolis.

"I've got 27 wide receivers with top three round grades in this draft. And consider on average 31 are taken. We had a max of 35 taken in, I believe that was in 2017," Jeremiah said in a recent conference call. "So this is a really phenomenal group of wideouts. Not all those guys are going to go early. They'll end up spreading throughout the draft. But it's really a good group."

That's a terrific situation for team like the Lions who may be looking to add to the position through the draft. There's going to be difference makers in this class all the way through Day 2, and likely into Day 3.

With the No. 3 overall pick, the Lions will probably be looking for a difference maker on defense, or looking to move back to gain assets, but nabbing a receiver could certainly be on the docket later in the first round or in Day 2.

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama), CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma) and Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) are all expected to be first-round picks, but then there's a second group of names that includes Justin Jefferson (LSU), Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State), Laviska Shenault (Colorado), Tee Higgins (Clemson), K.J. Hamler (Penn State), Michael Pittman Jr. (USC) and K.J. Hill (Ohio State), among others, who could all still be on the board into Day 2 of the draft.

There are 14 receivers in this class who measure 6-foot-3 or above. There's also some really good slot options and a ton of speed. Ruggs, TCU's Jalen Reagor and Texas receiver Devin Duvernay are among those expected to compete for the fastest player at the Combine this week.

For this class of receivers, this week is all about trying to separate themselves from the pack.

"I just have to be me," said Higgins, who caught 59 passes for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns for Clemson last season. "I feel like I'm the No. 1 guy. I feel like I can go to a team and just immediately impact that team and help that team get to a Super Bowl. Obviously, I'm a tall receiver (6-3). I'm going to win 50-50 balls 80-20 my way."

Others, like Jefferson, want to show teams they can fit into any role.

"Just being able to move both inside and outside," Jefferson said of wanting to show off his versatility this week. "Show that I can play anywhere on the field."

Ohio State's all-time receptions leader, K.J. Hill, is trying to enjoy this process and prove he's one of the better slot options in this class.

"On the field, the production is there," Hill said. "But it's with everyone in this draft, also. I think my character and my off-the-field – me being a great young man – will separate me this week. I've played mainly in the slot, but I had some packages and some plays on the outside, so I feel like I can do it all."

Big, tall, fast, inside or outside, there seems to be a pass catcher for every desired trait in this class, and the Lions should be able to find a good one if they go looking in April's draft.

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