The Detroit Lions have one roster spot undecided at wide receiver

Detroit Lions, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions wide receiver room still has one spot up for grabs in the final preseason game of 2018. The final receiver needs to stand out on special teams.

The receivers that will end the season with 10 or more catches for the Detroit Lions are no mystery. Marvin Jones Jr., Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay and T.J. Jones are going to do the Lion’s share of the work getting open for Matthew Stafford this season.

What is a little more contested is the individual role each player will find as the season goes on. Last season the clear number one and two were Jones and Tate. This season, however, Golladay has been across from Jones quite often when the team only deploys two receivers.

Tate has manned the slot in three-receiver sets and is the clear choice to spell either of the bigger receivers on the outside. He will definitely get a ton of snaps. Tate is the oldest of the Lions receivers, and a free agent next season. The Lions may just be giving Golladay, in only his second season, a chance to show them that it is safe to let Tate go.

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Golladay has not exactly grasped the role, however. In the third preseason game, Golladay was targeted five times but came up with only a single reception. He has looked like the same kind of player he was as a rookie, though an improved version. He is good for getting deep quickly but has not been reliable in game situations doing much else.

Both Jones’ have kept fairly consistent with what we thought they were. Marvin is a very good all-purpose receiver. He excels on contested catch opportunities and used his extremely developed body control to make catches that other men simply can not on a regular basis.

T.J looks like he may be the best number four receiver in the league. According to the broadcast crew in the Buccaneers game, Stafford can’t stop raving about the Lions second Jones. If Golladay can not step into a role as more than just a big bodied deep threat, we could see a lot of Jones.

After that things get murky. Bradley Marquez has been the number five receiver in practice according to sources. He has also been the Lions best wide receiver competing for kick coverage jobs. That would lock him into a spot were it not for Brandon Powell.

Powell leads the Lions in receptions and has shown electric return abilities. His 80-yard punt return touchdown against the Buccaneers that spurred on the Lions fourth quarter comeback is exactly the sort of thing that lands a player a job. While he leads the team in receptions though, he has averaged only 6.6 yards per catch.

Unfortunately for Powell, there is no direct path to the field for him in Detroit. Ameer Abdullah and Jamal Agnew will likely split the return duties barring an injury to either man. Unfortunately for the Lions, Powell has put up good enough tape that another team may claim him in the cut from 90 to 53 man rosters.

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The Lions could keep six receivers. Three players do not dress on game day every week, what position they play is relatively unimportant. Powell and Marquez are both making a strong case for a roster spot.