Last season, what was quickly becoming a breakout year for Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles met an unfortunate end in the form of an ACL tear, his second in the same number of years.
With his knee on the mend, Broyles is close to making his highly-anticipated return for the Lions as they prepare to make a comeback in the race for the NFC North crown. Assuming Broyles can return at full strength, he’ll be an integral part of the passing attack.
Even though Broyles was still recovering from his first ACL tear, the Lions made him their second-round pick in 2012. After the knee got back to 100 percent, the Oklahoma alum wasted no time catching on as an important cog in the Lions’ air assault. In his third appearance of the season, he hauled in three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Five weeks later, he emerged as a force to be reckoned with, amassing 126 yards on six catches. Broyles had arrived, and at just the right time for Detroit.
Unfortunately, the fun ended there. The next week, Broyles tore his ACL, effectively cutting short what was turning out to be a breakout rookie season.
When Broyles first went down, he was expected to be back midway through the 2013 campaign. Now, it appears he’ll be back earlier than anticipated, which could open the door for the second-year receiver to put up big numbers out of the slot.
It’s a new year, and Broyles is set to fill an important role in the Lions passing game. Alongside Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, the dynamic playmaker should have every opportunity to prove his worth as a reliable target for quarterback Matt Stafford. That is, however, if he can stay healthy and off the IR list.
Broyles is the anti-Titus Young; hard work, a never-say-never attitude and the will to succeed. It’s a new beginning for the Lions’ electric young receiver.