The Detroit Lions addressed one of their major free agency needs in this year’s offseason by signing former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate yesterday. The Lions now think that they have the complementary receiver for Calvin Johnson the team has lacked since Johnson first entered the league in 2007. While I do like the signing of Tate, the Lions still need more help at wide receiver if they want to contend in the NFC North.
Behind Johnson and the newly acquired Tate, who finished with 64 receptions and eight touchdowns last year, there is nothing else in the Lions’ receiving corps that will help the passing game. 2012 second-round pick Ryan Broyles can’t stay healthy with both of his first two seasons in the league ending on injured reserve. After filling in for the recently released Nate Burleson during the season, Kris Durham made only 38 catches in 13 starts last year, and the Lions were so desperate last year that they signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers castoff Kevin Ogletree in mid-season who would only make 13 catches in his 12 games with the Lions. Each of these three were so poor together last year that they combined for only 59 catches while both running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell nearly out produced them with 54 and 53 catches by themselves, respectively.
For the Lions to compete in the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, two high powered offenses, they themselves will have to be even more explosive in the passing game next year without forcing the ball to Johnson when he is double or triple teamed like in years past. Tate will mostly help the Lions outside, but he is also proficient in the slot. Despite all of this, by adding yet another dynamic receiver through either the draft or in free agency, the Lions can find the missing ingredient to put them at the top of the NFC North this upcoming season.