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Wide receiver could be deepest position on roster

Last year, the Detroit Lions were the only team in the NFL with two receivers who topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark.

Marvin Jones Jr. (1,101) and Golden Tate (1,003) became the seventh pair of Lions receivers to accomplish the feat in franchise history, and the first since 2014 (Calvin Johnson and Tate). Jones and Tate return this season as Detroit's No. 1 and No. 2 receivers.

Then there's Kenny Golladay, who showed terrific flashes of play as a rookie, and is expected to make significant gains in his second season after recording 28 receptions, 477 receiving yards and three scores in 11 games last year.

TJ Jones, who the Lions re-signed this offseason, is coming off his best season as a professional in 2017, recording 30 catches for 399 yards and a score in 14 games.

Altogether, the Lions return 211 catches, 2,980 yards and 18 touchdowns worth of production from their top four receivers last year. That has to be a very comforting fact for quarterback Matthew Stafford.

"It's nice," Stafford said last month when asked about all four of his top receivers returning. "I think it's on us to continue to improve, though. We can't sit there and say, 'Hey, we had a good year last year. Let's just go do that again.'

"We have to find ways to be better. Find ways to be more efficient and more explosive. All of it. Put more points on the board."

The Lions ranked sixth in passing offense last season, and Stafford didn't rank lower than sixth among all quarterbacks in the major statistical categories that measure QB play.

The comfort level between quarterback and receiver with this club should make the goal of continuing to grow as a passing attack easier to achieve.

This is Stafford's fourth season with Tate and TJ Jones, third with Marvin Jones and it will be his second with Golladay. 

"Yeah, I feel every year we get more and more comfortable with each other and that's important, being comfortable out there on the field," Marvin Jones said Thursday. "And just to be back with these guys, it's great."

Having four reliable, playmaking receivers that threaten all three levels of a defense has allowed general manager Bob Quinn to turn his focus on improving Detroit's rushing attack and giving Stafford and the talented receiving corps more help from that area of the offense.

As it stands right now, Detroit's receiving corps might be the deepest position group on the team, right up there with the secondary. An argument could be made that Detroit has one of the deepest receiver rooms in the NFL.

"Right now, we're just doing what we have to do," Marvin Jones said. "Obviously, what we've done in the past, that's in the past. We just have to be ourselves this year."

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