UDFA receiver Chase Cota excites Lions’ Dan Campbell with strong preseason debut

Detroit News

Detroit — With all eyes on another undrafted receiver who’s been making noise in training camp, Lions rookie receiver Chase Cota made a name for himself in Friday night’s preseason game.

Cota, who went undrafted out of Oregon, had four catches for 60 yards in the 21-16 win over the New York Giants at Ford Field.

“(I knew) we were only going to have six receivers up, so (I was) going to get a lot of reps. I was really excited knowing that it’s like, OK, it’s going to be like college,” Cota said afterward.

“The starters aren’t in, so it’s like, ‘OK, I’m going to get all the opportunities possible in this game, let’s try and make the most out of it.’ I’m just glad the ball came my way a few times.”

Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Cota’s performance “makes me want to give him more reps. Let’s bump him up a little bit, get him a better group, a better comp and let’s see where he can go.”

Campbell has been impressed by the attributes Cota has shown throughout camp, but even more so now that he’s seen how it translates to a game situation.

“I would say he’s the quiet sleeper, because I think he’s done some things that — every day, it’s positive, but it’s just kind of right under the radar,” Campbell said. “It’s more like, the guy really doesn’t mess things up, and then today he shows up and makes these plays that catch your eye. So when you get a guy who’s where he’s supposed to be, he’s accountable, he can really play all the positions, and now he’s making these plays, starting to produce.

“It’s hard not to see it. So that was good to see. That’s what you want out of these guys, particularly you’re talking about rookie free agents. You know, (Dylan) Drummond has had a really good camp and then Coda has done a good job, but really showed up tonight. It’s like, ‘OK,’ and it catches your eye, right? Because the lights are on and all of a sudden this guy is making some serious plays.”

Cota said he’s previously worked out with Lions quarterback Nate Sudfeld near their home in Bend, Oregon. Hence, the chemistry that showed itself Friday night.

“We just have nice chemistry off the field,” Cota said. “It translated on the field today. I know he has a lot of trust in me when we are in together, so it felt good that we got to play with him a few times.”

Sudfeld said Cota made the most of his opportunity.

“Chase did a great job, man. He’s obviously a big body. He runs well, great hands,” Sudfeld said. “It was really cool. … All these opportunities are so great and you really need to make the most of them and just kind of cut it loose and not get in your head too much, not overthink.”

nbianchi@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @nolanbianchi

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