Filling The Detroit Lions Need at Wide Receiver

Dave MContributor IIFebruary 8, 2010

BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 13:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a catch against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Lions 48-3. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

With the exception of a few crazies out there, most Lions fans can agree that Calvin Johnson is the best player on this team and worth keeping around.

What ALL Lions fans can agree on is that behind him there is nothing at the wide receiver spot.

But how should Mayhew and Schwartz go about finding this help? Wide receiver is a position that is a tough jump for a lot of young players and teams won't necessarily see results for a few years if they choose to draft one.

This being said, many people (myself included), think finding a receiver in Free Agency is the best way to acquire some talent and help Matthew Stafford's development.

However, upon looking at many free agent lists, the talent is greatly depleted because of the expiring CBA which requires a player to have been in the league at least six years before becoming an unrestricted free agent. Thus, many big names, like Brandon Marshall, Miles Austin and Vincent Jackson are restricted free agents and teams must give away draft picks in order to acquire these players.

The Lions simply can't afford to do this.

The options remaining that are unrestricted free agents involve guys that are too old (Derrick Mason and Mushin Muhammed), players that have been tabbed as being bad locker room guys (Antonio Bryant and Plaxico Burress) or players that are just plain lazy sometimes (Nate Burleson and Chris Chambers).

One name, however, jumped out at me: Domenik Hixon.

Hixon is a fourth round pick out of Akron and has spent the last three years with the Giants.

His statistics this year (15 receptions for 187 yards and 1 touchdown) would make it seem like he is not capable of playing at a high level, but if you look back to 2008 Hixon had 43 catches for 596 yards.

The reason for Hixon's lack of production this past season is not through any fault of his own. It is the improvement of other players on the roster. (The other) Steve Smith really came into his own this season and was Eli Manning's go-to receiver the whole year. Mario Manningham was great at the beginning of the season and first rounder Hakeem Nicks came on at the end of the year. Hixon was simply the odd man out.

Domenik also has some return ability. In 17 punt returns this season he had an average of 15.1 yards per return, as well as a touchdown, nearly doubling the Lions average (8.6).

Hixon may not be talented enough to be a number two receiver on many teams, but he is certainly better than Bryant Johnson or Dennis Northcutt and could be a valuable addition to an anemic Lions return game. He won't stretch many defenses with his speed, but he will get some seperation and won't drop nearly as many passes as the rest of the group did this season.