There aren’t any receivers in the 2016 draft class who present the entire package of size, speed and physicality like Johnson. However, there are a couple of potential first-rounders who play with a similar style to him. One of them is Josh Doctson from TCU, but the better option for Detroit would be Laquon Treadwell out of Ole Miss.
Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 221 pounds, Treadwell has good size and overall length. He is an extremely intelligent receiver with a competitive nature when it comes to jump ball situations. His body control is above average and he excels at shielding off defenders to make tough catches.
The negative with Treadwell is that he lacks the elite, cushion-eating speed needed to put pressure on opposing cornerbacks. This leads to him having issues breaking press coverage. To make up for that, he will need to get more physical in his release from the press. Luckily, he is known to be a tremendous pass blocker so he understands how to be physical with corners. Under NFL tutelage, Treadwell should be able to improve with his releases and become a better receiving threat. He was used more in underneath route situations in college, but he has more than enough upside to be dangerous vertical threat. His three TD performance against Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl was a prime example of what he brings to the table.
Treadwell didn’t run the 40 at the combine and his other testing numbers definitely didn’t jump off the page. However, his work in the drills was off the charts, and he is clearly the best wideout in a weak draft class for the position. He is currently being projected to be taken in the middle of the first round and should be available when Detroit selects at No. 16.
Treadwell is comparable to DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans. Hopkins was another super-talented receiver coming out of college who was receiving criticism for lacking elite athleticism. He took that criticism and is now an elite NFL WR at the tender age of 23. Treadwell seems destined to follow a similar path.
We all know that it’s nearly impossible to find another Calvin Johnson. He is a rare player who doesn’t come along often. However, Treadwell is a very talented receiver as well, and the Lions would be passing up on a potential Pro Bowler for years to come. Treadwell would fill an immediate need for size and physicality within the Detroit receiving corps, and the Lions would be wise to place his name at the top of their list for draft day targets.