Analysis: WR Battles

The receiving corps was supposed to be a strength for the team last year. Instead, starters Bill Schroeder and Az-Zahir Hakim had various injuries and the offense suffered as a result. Both will return fully healthy this year, and have a slew of new players jockeying for position behind them on the depth chart.

The receiving corps was supposed to be a strength for the team last year. Instead, starters Bill Schroeder and Az-Zahir Hakim had various injuries and the offense suffered as a result. Both will return fully healthy this year, and have a slew of new players jockeying for position behind them on the depth chart.

Charles Rogers, as everyone knows, was the second pick taken in the 2003 NFL Draft. He will take his record breaking college skills and use them as Detroit's number one receiver.

Bill Schroeder, a free agent acquisition last year, was nagged by various injuries, resulting in a poor year statistically. In the instances he was able to play, he either did very well (vs New Orleans) or was terrible (at Green Bay). If Mariucci uses Schroeder properly, as a vertical receiver, thus allowing Bill to use his world class speed, he should do better this year. That's also assuming he can stay healthy. He will be the team's number two receiver.

Last year's biggest free agency signing almost had his career end with a severe hip injury. Az-Zahir Hakim was on course for a 1,000 yard season before he was injured. Although the team and the fans were disappointed that his season ended prematurely, both had a sigh of relief when it was realized his injury would not be career ending. He will be in the slot for Detroit this year, returning to the position that made him such a threat in St. Louis. He will undoubtedly open things up for both Bill Schroeder and Charles Rogers.

Scotty Anderson returns to the team with a painful realization of how valuable life really is. After nearly losing his brother and getting injured himself in a stabbing outside of a nightclub recently, he comes into camps with a renewed sense of focus. With that said, there are several other players on the roster now who could supplant Anderson, so he needs to impress to make this team, for he is certainly expendable when you take his 2002 numbers into account (25 receptions, 322 yards.)

David Kircus could be the player who takes his place, too. Drafted in the sixth round, the Grand Valley State superstar comes to the Lions with gaudy college stats. He needs to gain weight if he ever wants a chance to start, but he will make the team and develop. He isn't a certainty to make the team, however is definitely likely.

Shawn Jefferson, former Atlanta Falcon, will be on the team for veteran depth. He probably won't play much, if at all. He is here to teach the young receivers the ropes, and he's doing just that. Will probably make the team.

Spending all of last year on the practice squad, 6'2 191 pound Pierre Brown was allocated to Europe this year. He has done a marginal job, and isn't very likely to make the team. The fact that he has a year's worth of experience and the NFL Europe certainly helps his case though, therefore it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him sneak onto the roster. However it's unlikely.

Former Western Michigan player Jermaine Lewis was picked up as an undrafted free agent this year. He played safety before switching to wide out in his senior year. Many people consider him to be a better safety than a wide receiver, but  he was signed to this team for his receiving ability. At 6'4 209 he certainly has the size to be a decent prospect. He hurt his ankle in minicamps, but should be fine come time for training camp, albeit unlikely to make the final cut.

Seventh round pick Travis Anglin is pretty much in the same situation as Lewis, converting from quarterback to wide receiver in his Memphis days. He is 6'4 192 pounds, so he also has the size to play well at the spot. He is a raw prospect, and will probably be relegated to the practice squad.

Scotty Vines, out of Wyoming, is unlikely to make the starting roster. He will need both a solid effort and luck to make the practice squad. Vines has good speed and size.

Eddie Drummond is highly unlikely to ever see playing time at wide out, (at 5'9, who would?) however he will be the main punt and kick returner, after an electrifying 2002 campaign. He is a lock to make the team.


Lions Report Top Stories