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NFL Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions 2013 Breakout Candidate: Patrick Edwards

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

After joining the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent last year, Patrick Edwards struggled to gain traction in his first NFL season. He had an underwhelming preseason, landing himself on the practice squad and ending up on the injured reserve before the season was over.

That would be a dissapointment for most rookies, but for a guy from the University of Houston just trying to find a place in the league after not getting drafted, it was a step in the right direction.

This year, things look to be even better for Edwards. A small receiver at only 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Edwards has the skills to be a slot receiver. At one time, that would have been a demotion for an NFL pass catcher, but in today’s NFL offenses, the slot receiver can be a valuable weapon.

That’s especially true on a team that has the kind of outside receivers that the Lions do. Calvin Johnson is one of, if not the best playmakers in the league at outside wide receiver. The attention that a guy like Johnson draws from a defense will leave the underneath routes and the middle of the field open for a small receiver like Edwards.

Edwards is looking to take full advantage of that room this year. He impressed in OTAs, and has his sights set on the no. 2 spot on the receiver depth chart for the Lions.

After being undrafted and not even making the opening day roster just one year ago, things are shaping up for Edwards to have a breakout season in 2013.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.