The Detroit Lions should be looking hard at wide receivers for the 2022 NFL Draft, and here are five to watch in this weekend’s college football action.
The Detroit Lions went toward the bottom of the barrel for wide receiver free agents last offseason, and even the lowest of expectations were not met by Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman. Perriman didn’t make it to Week 1 before being cut, while Williams suffered a concussion in the season opener and was eventually released with an injury settlement.
Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond look like they’ll have a place on next year’s roster, as should Quintez Cephus, who’s all but surely out for the season with a collarbone injury. But none of them profile as a No. 1 wide receiver, and finding a guy like that is on a long list of offseason needs for the Lions.
Mock drafts have begun to trend toward the Lions using their second first-round pick in April on a wide receiver, and it’s a credible idea. But it’s hardly the only path to coming out of the draft with an immediate contributor, or two.
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Heading into this weekend’s college football action, here are five wide receiver prospects to watch.
Lions 2022 NFL Draft: 5 wide receiver prospects to watch this weekend
5. Deven Thompkins, Utah State
The first thing that stands out about Thompkins is how small he is (5-foot-6, 160 pounds). But you can’t hit what you can’t catch, and he is leading FBS in receiving yards (1,441) with a Mountain West-leading 77 catches through 10 games entering the weekend. He is also averaging 23 yards per return on 10 kickoff returns.
Pro Football Focus is high on Thompkins’ work this season, giving him their second-highest grade (90.3, actually a tie) entering Week 12 and crediting him with 12 contested catches this season (tied for third-most in FBS).
Thompkins will be a mid-to-late-round pick in April, so he’s most likely to be the second wide receiver the Lions draft as they stock the cupboard. But for once, watching him play won’t require burning the midnight oil on the East Coast this week.
How To Watch Thompkins: Sat. Nov. 20, vs. Wyoming, 8 p.m. ET, TV: CBS Sports Network