2015 NFL Draft: Detroit Lions Targeting Return Man?


NFL teams are only allowed 30 pre-draft visits.  Some teams spend some of those visits by interviewing players that will likely be chosen by the competition but most are spent evaluating prospects who can fill needs on the team. So when the Lions spend 10% of those visits on one position, it sends a signal that maybe the team is targeting that position.  Such is the case for kick returner as the Detroit Lions entertained their third in last couple of weeks in Allen Park today.

In 2014 the Detroit Lions had hoped that Jeremy Ross could recapture the kick return magic he displayed in 2013. Unfortunately Ross struggled last season and with Theo Riddick seeing an increased load carrying the ball on offense the Lions need another solution in the return game.

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Ryan Broyles is still on the roster but the coaching staff haven’t seen fit to use him in the return game.  That means the Lions will have to spend a draft pick to get a boost in the return game.

Kansas State Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett was a catalyst on special teams for the Wildcats last season. But at 5-9 182 pounds he is undersized for an NFL receiver. That could be a factor in whether or not the Lions choose him because they like to target players who are versatile enough to help the team in several ways.

If the Lions are looking for a return specialist then Lockett’s punt return numbers our impressive considering he put them up against power five talent.

As mentioned in Twentyman’s tweet, J.J. Nelson was the top kickoff return man but played for UAB against Conference USA.  Nelson is blessed with speed (4.28 40-yard dash) but at 5-10 is undersized for a receiver.

Kaelin Clay averaged 15 yards on punt returns while scoring 3 touchdowns for Utah last season.  At the NFL level Clay is a late round project at best. He has big play ability but also has a history of injury.

Unless they decide on Lockett (who projects for the second or third round) look for the Lions to invest a late round pick in their return game.

Next: Top Five O-Line Prospects