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12th Man Report: Wide receiver deficit


After last week’s late, come-from-behind victory, the Detroit Lions are riding high. Calvin Johnson is a beast, the offense is clicking (minus the large amount of untimely turnovers) and they’re two games over .500. After last season’s abysmal four-win finish, this year’s team has already surpassed many expectations.

However, an already thin receiving corps just got a little bit thinner. Ryan Broyles is out for the season after he suffered a ruptured Achilles on Sunday. Although Broyles wasn’t anything too special, he was a body and he now joins Nate Burleson on the injured list. Don’t get me wrong: after Johnson’s performance last week, I’d almost go as far as saying that they don’t need anybody to catch passes besides Megatron. But in reality, the less depth the Lions have at receiver, the more attention Johnson and running back Reggie Bush will receive. So the question is, who do the Lions have currently to fill that role?

Let’s see

There’s 25-year-old Kris Durham. Despite having just 36 career catches (25 of which came this season), he’s been pretty impressive, relatively speaking at least. Then there’s Kevin Ogletree, who’s bounced around a few different teams in his short career and will never be more than a third or fourth option. And Burleson is still a few weeks away from returning from his broken arm, so there’s a very noticeable hole at wide receiver.

The Lions need to sign or trade for a wide receiver; someone who has more than 36 career catches, has produced in the NFL, and doesn’t injure himself reaching in his car for pizza.

Braylon Edwards

So why not sign former University of Michigan, New York Jets’ and Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Braylon Edwards?

He’s a Detroit native and currently is out of work after the Jets cut him in the offseason. Sure he’s been in the league nine seasons and might be a little past playing his best football, but he’s far from being too old. He can still produce — especially if gunslinger Matt Stafford was throwing to him.

The Lions could try to trade for somebody. But in reality, anybody they’d trade for will be a lot more expensive than an out-of-work Edwards; they can get him at a bargain price.

And if they do trade for somebody, it might be a little cramped when Burleson returns. If they picked up Edwards, he’d have no problem being a third receiver to Johnson and a healthy Burleson because that’s better than watching games from his couch, right?

There are two certainties in this situation: the Lions need a better, more proven receiver. And Braylon Edwards is available.

How he might perform after an extended hiatus is anyone’s guess. But at this point, it’s a win-win considering Detroit’s current personnel.

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