Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver TJ Jones has a chance to make an impact as a possession-type receiver, but he’ll have to make a climb on the depth chart first. The names in front of him shouldn’t be too hard to beat out, but they all have positive qualities and can chip into an explosive passing attack in a unique way. Jones will have to be careful that his injury doesn’t put him ahead of the curve, though, because his status for the start of training camp is now in some doubt.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Jones stated that he isn’t sure if he’ll be able to get medical clearance before the start of training camp, so he could start camp on the active/PUP list for a brief period of time before getting cleared. The Notre Dame product is already behind the eight ball after missing all of minicamp with a shoulder injury that needed to be scoped out in June, but it looked like he wouldn’t miss camp.
Jones has good hands, sub-4.5 forty wheels, and the ability to line up inside or outside, so he could be a versatile No. 3 or 4 receiver in the Lions attack after being a nice pick in the sixth round. It seems like the Lions are high on him, but his ability to receive significant playing time and work his way into the No. 4 (or even 3) wide receiver role could depend on how quickly he gets healthy. But the injury shouldn’t affect him too much, and Jones was quick to note that this clearly isn’t anything close to a “major setback”; it’s only a minor bump in the road, especially since his status is only up-in-the-air.