Lions still think fifth-round WR Quintez Cephus is a keeper

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
 
| The Detroit News

As far as fifth-round draft picks go, Detroit Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus has produced at a level you might have reasonably projected.

Buried on the depth chart behind several more experienced options, he’s appeared in eight of the team’s 11 games, been targeted 21 times, caught 12 passes for 174 yards and has zero touchdowns. 

And while those numbers aren’t blowing anyone away, position coach Robert Prince remains high on Cephus’ potential. 

“The thing with the rookies these days is they didn’t get a chance to go through the regular OTAs and didn’t have a regular training camp, didn’t go through preseason and sometimes those guys, by now, hit that rookie wall,” Prince said. “But he’s done a great job of staying focused and learning from the best. He always wants to try to get better. Willing to work, and I think the sky is the limit with that guy because of his work ethic.”

While it might be a stretch to suggest Prince was pounding for the table for Cephus in the draft, the veteran assistant coach has long had eyes on the former Wisconsin standout. 

When doing his prospect evaluations before the draft, Prince told The Detroit News in September that Cephus was a player he coveted. 

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“When we were talking about the receivers in the draft, he was definitely a guy that I had circled and I said, ‘I would love to coach this guy,’” Prince said. “I loved the way he played. He was a very physical receiver, great at the catch point, contested catches, had the strength to create separation and I thought he was a really good player and I thought he’d fit with what we wanted.”

Cephus’ status for this week’s game against Chicago is up in the air. He didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday and his absence was listed as non-injury related. He returned to the field Friday afternoon.

With Kenny Golladay out the past four games, the rookie has averaged 26 snaps. Golladay, who has also missed the past two days with a lingering hip injury, is not expected to play against Chicago. 

Turn up the volume

All week, Lions players were asked what’s changed during the first week of practice under interim coach Darrell Bevell. On Friday, both wide receiver Danny Amendola and linebacker Reggie Ragland mentioned the same difference they’ve noticed. 

“The only difference is we just play music all the time throughout practice,” Ragland said. “I guess that’s a good thing to keep guys going and everything like that. He’s bringing a lot of energy.”

A retro look

Part of getting a high-profile promotion is it sends fans and media digging into your background. With Bevell, it’s brought to light a humorous-in-hindsight photo shoot he did with former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre for the Wisconsin State Journal in 1995. 

Bevell, then a senior at the University of Wisconsin, had led the school to its first Rose Bowl victory two years earlier. Favre, meanwhile, was entering his fifth NFL season and fourth with the Packers, preparing to embark on his first of three MVP campaigns. 

In the photo, Bevell is wearing his Wisconsin jersey, a gold chain and a scowl, but none of that distracts from his incredible, flattop hair cut. 

“Over time it’s come up in team meetings and offensive meetings,” Bevell said when asked about the photo Friday. “It’s come up a lot. Yeah, I love the picture. I love my haircut in that thing. It’s a sweet flattop. It was a good time, a good memory.”

Asked if he would commit to bringing the flattop back if the team went 5-0 during his run as interim coach, Bevell didn’t hesitate. 

“Absolutely, in a heartbeat,” he said. “The only thing I’d have to do is I’d have to check with my wife. She liked it, but then she told me it wasn’t the most professional haircut. But I loved it though.”

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