Wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El has set a template for what the Detroit Lions need most at the position, and here are five available options who fit the bill.
The Detroit Lions wide receiver group was thin last year, and that’s put it mildly. Amon-Ra St. Brown emerged late as a legit stud, and otherwise Josh Reynolds (16.1 yards per catch as a Lion) and Kalif Raymond had moments.
In talking to reporters down at the Senior Bowl about the aggressive approach he’d like to see to add to the position he coaches this offseason, Lions’ wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El outlined a specific profile.
“We’re going to be searching for a guy that can go in and help our offense put this ball down the field and really be a guy that we can — I shouldn’t just say throw it up, but we know backside X, they’re going to roll the coverage to St. Brown on the frontside,” Randle El explained. “We know we can get man one-on-one on the backside, let’s get that ball over there, knowing he’s going to win. That’s the idea behind it.”
Randle-El outlined a bigger receiver who can stretch the field deep and win one-on-one matchups when they come. As awesome as he is, St. Brown is not that kind of receiver–he’ll be a high-volume, multi-faceted target in Detroit’s offense.
With Randle-El’s “backside X” template in mind, here are five wide receivers the Detroit Lions can get in free agency or the draft who fit that bill.
5 wide receivers the Detroit Lions can sign or draft to fit Antwaan Randle-El’s template
5. D.J. Chark
A broken ankle cost Chark all but four games of the 2021 season. Since topping 1,000 yards (with 73 catches, with eight touchdowns) and earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2019, injuries and an inept offense got in the way of his production with the Jaguars.
Chark stands 6-foot-4, and a report last offseason said he added weight to get up to 210 pounds while maintaining (or improving) his speed. Size and speed? Certainly.
Chark is not going to break the bank on the free agent market this offseason. But his skill set as outside the hashes downfield threat fits what Randle-El envisions for the “backside X” receiver, and the Lions should be interested.