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Raw Combine Speed Should Provide Detroit Lions with Major Options at Wide Receiver

February 24th, 2013 at 1:11 PM
By Max DeMara

Thank goodness Matt Millen was nowhere to be found this Sunday during the NFL Combine in a managerial role.

If the former Detroit Lions' general manager was, his eyes would have been lighting up left and right watching wide receiver results, particularly during the 40 yard dash. West Virginia's Tavon Austin smoked the competition by running unofficial 4.25 and 4.31 dashes. Track star turned receiver Marquise Goodwin of Texas also ran a 4.25 dash, while Kenny Stills put forth a 4.28 effort. Michigan's Denard Robinson ran a 4.34, as Josh Boyce and Ryan Swope, the low men of the group, both still managed to run blazing times of 4.38 and 4.34.

Aside from those more stunning times, solid work was also turned in by Robert Woods (4.51), Markus Wheaton (4.34), Terrence Williams (4.46), Cordarrelle Patterson (4.42), Tavarres King (4.47) and Corey Fuller (4.43). Seeing unofficial numbers like this helps you realize that 2013 may have been the fastest year on record for wide receivers, especially considering 4.68 was the slowest unofficial time recorded. As the Road Runner might say, meep meep!

What does this mean? For starters, the Lions should have plenty of quick options to choose from at wide receiver all across the board. As has been discussed since the beginning of the offseason, Detroit needs to get faster in a hurry on offense, and especially at the wide receiver position. Special teams could stand a major upgrade, and any one of these players could fit the bill.

Austin opened eyes and, in the minds of some, perhaps even ensured he would be taken in the first round. Detroit should avoid any temptation to pick him with selection five, however. There are far too many other needs across the board, despite Austin's explosive speed and play making ability. He could be the next DeSean Jackson, but the Lions have far too many other holes to justify that selection exceedingly high this April.

That's especially considering how deep this draft appears to be for speedy players. There should be no rush for the Lions to draft Austin or any other wide receiver high given the depth at the position. Martin Mayhew, given the problems with Titus Young, better be completely sure with whomever he picks up to catch the ball, especially if he decides to select them early.

Boyce, who was also a top performer with regards to wide receiver bench press at the combine, could be Detroit's ideal fit. Not only did he showcase speed and strength, he's been a solid special teams performer in the past, which would certainly come in handy. Other than him, a player like Woods, Swope, Patterson or Williams could fit in excellently opposite Calvin Johnson in a possession role if the Lions desire.

Either way, Sunday morning proved with certainty that the Lions have some excellent options at receiver. Thankfully, most are fast, which could add an element the team badly needs to improve offensively moving forward.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Denard Robinson, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Josh Boyce, Marquise Goodwin, Martin Mayhew, NFL, Robert Woods, Ryan Swope

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