- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Detroit Lions reporter
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Entering free agency and the draft, the position is Calvin Johnson and a bunch of complementary players with some question marks. Can Kris Durham take another step or is his production as a good depth receiver and plug-in starter? Can Jeremy Ross become more than a return man?
Will Ryan Broyles recover from his third straight season-ending injury?
This will lead Detroit to make plays at the position both in free agency (beginning Tuesday) and potentially in the first round of a receiver-rich NFL draft. While Clemson’s Sammy Watkins likely isn’t going to be around at No. 10, Todd McShay’s pick for the Lions at No. 10 in his third mock draft should be.
Texas A&M’s Mike Evans offers a massive complement on the opposite side of Johnson and would give Detroit three huge targets for Matthew Stafford between Johnson and Evans on the outside and 6-foot-7 tight end Joseph Fauria over the middle and in the red zone. That could turn the Lions’ offense into an explosive group between the size on the outside and over the middle and the speed/strength combination between running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell on shorter routes and running the ball.
If Evans is available at No. 10, Detroit will need to take a long look there, provided Watkins is unavailable.
The interesting thing with McShay’s latest mock is the Lions would have to make an actual decision at No. 10. In his draft, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Louisville safety Calvin Pryor and Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would all be available to be taken.
McShay goes with Evans – I’d likely do the same – but if the right trade offer was around, I’d look to drop down a few spots and possibly grab one of the safeties or Barr in Round 1 and nab a receiver and tight end in the second and third rounds.
But if the Lions were to stay at No. 10, with the options available, Evans should be the pick at this point. Of course, there are still around two months to go until the draft.
Since the end of the regular season, and certainly since the release of Nate Burleson, one of the main priorities for upgrading the Detroit Lions has been centered on the wide receivers.