HOUSTON - Lions general manager Bob Quinn is always going to be on the lookout for more weapons to surround quarterback Matthew Stafford, but Hall of Fame wide receiver and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin believes the team already has the role of No. 1 receiver on the roster in Golden Tate.
"I think Golden Tate is a No. 1 receiver," Irvin said. "I really do. Golden Tate is a bad man. He's a bad man.
"A lot of people didn't think (Seattle's) Doug Baldwin was (a No. 1). And look at the career Doug Baldwin has put together.
"The opportunities that Golden Tate gets he makes the most of them. He really does make the most of them. He certainly is, I think, a No. 1 receiver."
Tate produced his third-straight season with at least 90 catches, and led all NFL receivers with 635 yards after the catch.
He led Detroit in receptions (91), yards (1,077) and was also tops on the team in first downs with 47.
It should also be noted that his first two 90-catch performances in Detroit in 2014 and 2015 came when playing alongside Calvin Johnson.
Tate can line up anywhere on the field, including the backfield, because of his build, quickness and toughness. And offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is creative in the ways he gets Tate the ball.
Tate isn't typically mentioned among the league's elite No. 1 receivers like Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown or A.J. Green, mostly because those players make so many explosive plays down the field. But from a sheer production standpoint, Tate has ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in receptions each of the last three years. Twice he's gone over 1,000 yards on the season. In 2014, he earned a Pro Bowl nod.
The Lions could certainly stand to add more speed to the position this offseason, but Tate's shown collectively over the course of his three seasons, that when he's called upon to produce, he's up to the task.