Predicting the Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Depth Chart

J.P. ScottSenior Analyst IJuly 19, 2012

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 30:  Wide receiver Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions makes a 41-yard reception for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 30, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

As the 2012 season approaches, there are high hopes among Lions fans that this could be the year Detroit breaks through as NFC North champion and makes a serious run at Super Bowl glory.

Much of that optimism has to do with the talent in the Detroit Lion's receiving corps.

Detroit's wide receiver depth chart is as talented as any in the league. As such, there will be serious competition for playing time throughout the year.

One place there won't be competition is for the No. 1 receiver slot. Calvin Johnson looks to continue his role as the NFL's premier wide receiver, pacing this group all year long.

Nate Burleson should start the year as the traditional No. 2 wideout. However, he'll be pushed hard by second-year man Titus Young. 

Regardless of whether or not he wins the No. 2 spot outright, Young should be a mainstay on the field due to Detroit rarely lining up with fewer than three receivers.

When Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense go four-wide, rookie Ryan Broyles—if he can stay healthy—would most likely be the fourth receiver. His skill set is similar to Young's, with perhaps a bit more lateral quickness. Having both of them on the field simultaneously is sure to drive opposing defensive coordinators mad.

Veteran Maurice Stovall might see some action in the red zone due to his size. Though nowhere near the same level of talent, Stovall's physical attributes make him a logical choice to spell Johnson when needed.

Look for second year prospect Marcus Harris out of Murray State to make some noise should Burleson or Young go down.

Second year man Terrence Toliver out of LSU might be the wild card on the depth chart. He has the physical skills to make the roster and be productive should the unthinkable happen and injuries ravage the receiving corps.

Everything will revolve around health and reaching potential with this unit. The big four (Johnson, Burleson, Young and Broyles) in particular will have much to do with deciding Detroit's fate in 2012.