Nov 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Kris Durham (18) during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Detroit won 40-10. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions training camp is off and running, preseason is set to kick off next week, and position battles are heating up in Allen Park! Among the position battles is the competition for the No. 3 wide receiver spot in the Lions pass-happy offense.
With Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate as the top two receivers, players like Ryan Broyles, Jeremy Ross, Kevin Ogletree, TJ Jones and Kris Durham are fighting for the third slot and perhaps more importantly, a spot on the Lions roster.
It is highly unlikely that seven receivers make the final 53 man roster once cuts take place leaving one to wonder, who is the odd man out?
My guess would be to look no further than Matthew Stafford‘s former roommate at the University of Georgia, Kris Durham.
Durham was selected as the 107th overall pick (the 10th pick in the 4th round) in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks but was cut at the end of the Seahawks’ training camp in 2012. He signed with the Detroit Lions practice squad on September 2, 2012,and was elevated to the active roster on December 4. He the enjoyed a more regular role in the Lions 2013 season, being elevated to a starter after a Week 3 injury to Nate Burleson.
Durham is now a known commodity, and what the NFL knows about him is not favorable. In fact, after spending most of 2013 as Detroit’s No. 2 receiver, he might not even make it as the No. 5 in 2014.
ESPN Lions reporter Michael Rothstein says it is “tough to see” both WR Kris Durham and WR Kevin Ogletree making Detroit’s 53-man roster.
"“With the infusion of pass-catching talent in Detroit this offseason, fringe players Durham and Ogletree have become expendable. Durham was a drop machine in 2013, and Ogletree has been ineffective throughout his career. Both players are best suited as No. 4 or 5 receivers in real football and ignorable in fantasy.”"
Three days into camp, Ogletree looks like he’s not only well on his way to winning a roster spot, but perhaps a starting job.
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Furthermore, Pro Football Focus charted Durham with the worst grade (minus-12.3) of any Lions offensive player in the past three seasons. He caught just 13 of the last 37 balls thrown his way—a period coinciding with Detroit’s offensive collapse down the stretch.
While Detroit’s other options aren’t as established, they do bring upside and potential to the table. Those two things will finally outweigh the roommate card in 2014.