The Detroit Lions top two wide receivers are locked in, as Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate will form one of the league’s best wide receiver duos next season. But outside of those two, things are pretty wide open when it comes to the hierarchy of the Lions wide receiver corps, as TJ Jones, Jeremy Ross, Ryan Broyles, and Kevin Ogletree are prime candidates to be the No. 3 wide receiver in a high-volume passing attack. While the top two tight ends figure to be used more heavily than the third receiver, it’s still an important role in the offense.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Michael Rothstein, Ogletree is “making a big early impression” in the Lions WR3 position battle, and he was praised by Calvin Johnson and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi at points during the offseason. Ogletree’s speed makes him an intriguing player, but his career-high for receptions is 32 (set in 2012 in his final season with the Dallas Cowboys). I wouldn’t expect Ogletree to garner a high amount of targets if he wins the WR3 job, but it isn’t overly surprising to hear that he’s the favorite.
If he can keep his big offseason up, then he figures to start on the outside in three-wide sets with Tate kicking into the slot. The Lions have plenty of pass-catching versatility on the roster at WR, but the RBs and TEs will be the “versatile” weapons utilized more frequently in the passing attack.
Rothstein also writes that it looks like the Lions are making the right tackle position a wide-open competition between Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle, with both being more than capable of successfully starting at the position in this league. Waddle was an absolute gem of a rookie UDFA last season, but Hilliard and Waddle have rotated first-team reps on the first two days of training camp. This is a competition well-worth monitoring, though the edge has to go to Waddle after his terrific play last season.