After the Lions drafted Kenny Golladay in the third round back in 2017, veteran receivers Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate took Golladay under their wings, showed him the ropes and taught him how to be a professional.
It paid off too, because Golladay was an instant contributor for the Lions as a rookie and has since developed into one of the top receivers in the game entering his fourth season in 2020.
The Lions drafted Quintez Cephus out of Wisconsin this offseason. He steps into a similar situation as Golladay did as a rookie, with veteran receivers on the roster to learn from. Cephus has Jones, Danny Amendola and Golladay. Jones was a mentor for Golladay back in 2017, and he plans to do the same with Cephus.
"That's what we do," Jones said in a Zoom call Thursday. "When you've been in the league for this long, and the type of people that we are, it's always to help. If you help somebody, that's just going to make the team better, especially when you see potential in somebody. We (saw) that with Kenny. Obviously, you know how that turned out."
Jones and Cephus got acquainted shortly after the draft when Cephus drove from Arizona to San Diego to train with Jones for a few days.
View photos from workouts during Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage on Aug. 12, 2020.
"We got some good work in," Jones said of those offseason workouts. "He definitely has the tools in terms of his strength and explosiveness. Dude can jump out the gym. So, it'll be great to see him go once we start really picking everything up."
Cephus was one of Detroit's two fifth-round picks this year after leading the Badgers in receptions (59), receiving yards (901) and receiving touchdowns (7) this past season, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
Cephus (6-1, 202) is a possession-type receiver with a basketball background. He hopes to find a role in a receiving corps that returns its top four receivers from a year ago, with three of those receivers – Golladay, Jones and Amendola – having at least 60 catches and 675 yards.
It's a good situation for Cephus in Detroit because there aren't huge expectations for him to be the guy right away. It was the same thing for Golladay back in 2017. Cephus can come in and learn from veterans and develop to a point where he can be an early contributor.
"We do that for everybody, for all rookies" Jones said of mentoring young players. "Even if they came in tomorrow, we'll treat them all the same. 'Hey, stick with us and you'll know the way.'
"Especially for people who are very motivated, we'll do that, and we see that in (Cephus). We're just going to go out here in training camp and let the young man do what he does."