Looking back at the Detroit Lions 2021 Week 3 roster, it’s not very inspiring on a customer base. Caliph Raymond led the position group with 47 snaps against the Baltimore Ravens against Quintez Cephus (45), Amon-Ra St. Brown (27) and Trinity Benson (24) all had significant playing time as well. No wonder Jared Goff had problems as a quarterback for the first half of the season.
But Lions CEO Brad Holmes was not going to get into 2022 with the same problem. Early in the off-season, Detroit was in a better position after Josh Reynolds fell on a mid-season lap and St. Brown exploded in the last few months of the year. But Holmes was not pleased with this. He closely followed the wide receiver market in a free agency and ended up with DJ Khark on a one-year contract. Then Holmes made his most aggressive move to date, jumping 20 places in the first round to catch Alabama player Jameson Williams.
Now the top of the Lions receiver looks like this:
- Jameson Williams
- DJ Chark
- Amon-Ra St. Brown
- Josh Reynolds
- Caliph Raymond
- Cephus Quintez
… and that doesn’t include handing over a gun like TJ Hockenson’s tight end or running back D’Andre Swift.
While this may not be the league’s best receiving corps, it is definitely above average and is more than enough for a good quarterback to thrive. The question is, which audience will be Goff’s favorite target?
Today’s question of the day is:
Which Lions receiver will end the 2022 season with the most yards received?
My answer: Let’s break down the options.
Williams is clearly considered to be the team’s best receiver. Holmes would not have spent as much capital on him if he had not seen him as an absolute game changer. However, his torn ACL in January could see him miss a few early matches and there is no guarantee that he and Goff will have instant chemistry when he hits the pitch.
The injury is also a concern for Chark, who has played only 17 games in the last two seasons. However, Chark is only three years removed from the Pro Bowl season in which he scored 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. And as a reminder, Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles have been throwing him the ball this year. If Chark can stay healthy for 17 games, he’s a solid candidate to lead the team in the yard pickup, but it’s very important.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
St. Brown had one of the strongest finishes among the 2021 season all NFL receivers. Here are his stats and rankings compared to other wide receivers for week 13-18:
- Field: 51 (2.)
- Pickup Yards: 560 (3.)
- Receiving Touchdowns: 5 (t-3.)
If you were to extend this six-game production to a 17-game season, it would look like this:
144.5 catches, 1,586.7 yards, 14.2 touchdowns
Okay, so it won’t happen. With more passing options for Goff – remember, Hockenson was eliminated from injury for most of the St. Brown’s – St. Brown is unlikely to have as many looks as at the end of the season. However, adding both Chark and Williams should open the center of the field for St. Brown. So, while 1,500 yards are probably out of the question, St. Brown could very well surpass 1,000 in his second NFL season.
From the first shot of the training camp, it was clear that Hockenson and Goff were trying to build something unique. They hardly ever abandoned each other and apparently had a bit of play and personal chemistry between them.
This chemistry never reached its potential on the pitch. Hockenson scored multiple goals in 2021, but turned them into just 583 receiver yards in 12 games, or just 48.6 yards per game.
Was it a result of Hockenson not living up to expectations or the defense meddling with him due to a lack of other Detroit pickup options? The answer probably applies to both, but Hockenson should no longer be bothered by additional attention from opponents of the 2022 attack. Is this the year he has consolidated his position in the top five of tight end?
For me, this answer comes down to two options: Chark and St. Brown because I have the feeling Williams will miss at least a few games before the season starts. Ultimately, I give St. Brown because of his proven chemistry with Goff and his never-ending work ethic. It is a versatile weapon and Detroit would be wise to place it all over the pitch for the ultimate defensive match. As other players are distracting from him, he may not be as good as he was in this crazy end to the season, but the decline may not be that big.
Who will lead the Lions in scoring the yards in 2022?
Amon-Ra St. Brown
1740 votes in total