On the bright side, Detroit desperately needs a complement to Megatron at Receiver. In 2012, Titus Young was the 2nd leading wide receiver with 33 receptions, 383 yards and 4 TD catches. Last year Kris Durham was the 2nd leading wide receiver with 38 receptions 490 yards and 2 TDs.
Including Naaman, the Lions have 12 receivers on roster and outside of Calvin Johnson, all 11 will fight to give Detroit 4-wide depth that has been missing in recent years.
That said, the Lions have a lot of other receiving talent, Running Backs Joique Bell and Reggie Bush are excellent pass catchers and Tight Ends Joseph Fauria, Brandon Pettigrew and 1st round draft pick in 2014 Eric Ebron will be a focal point of the passing game as well.
With Ebron looking to fill the Jimmy Graham role, playing slot receiver in Detroit's multiple wide receiver formations, it takes away a spot for a wide receiver. There are probably only 3 chances for a receiver to see solid playing time, can Naaman earn one of those spots?
Why Naaman will make the Lions:
The usual concern about Naaman is his size, he's six feet tall and 199 pounds, ten pounds heavier than his UB weight. At that size, he is the median receiver currently on roster, half the receivers are bigger, half are smaller. With Ebron, Pettigrew, Fauria and Megtron, the Lions have many options when it comes to an end zone fade route, they don't need another, in fact, their last successful WR2 was Titus Young, in 2012, he caught 48 balls for 607 yards while at 5'11 174 pounds.
When looking at pre-NFL combine numbers, Roosevelt performed his best in the 20-yard shuttle. The shuttle is what I look for when evaluating smaller slot backs, it shows me their ability to laterally stop and start, and that has become a major asset for successful teams. Wes Welker ran the shuttle in 4.01 seconds, Edelman in 3.92 seconds, Naaman ran it in 4.16 seconds, the 3rd fastest shuttle time on the Lions.
In college, Naaman's production eclipses Megatron's and is only bested by Oklahoma's dynamic when healthy Ryan Broyles and Houston's Pat Edwards. In the NFL, Naaman has only managed 17 games, however his 24 yards per game is about the median for Detroit's NFL talent, and his 15.8 yards per reception are second only to Calvin Johnson's 16.3.
Why Naaman Won't Make the Lions
Detroit signed Golden Tate to a 5-year 31 million dollar deal over the summer. 25% of Tate's receptions last year were behind the line of scrimmage but he's also fast enough to play the deep threat. His versatility is his biggest weapon and makes him a different receiver than Naaman. Tate's return ability may make Jeremy Ross redundant, the receiver out of Cal has 6 receptions as a pro, and has played as Detroit's premier return man, but word out of minicamp is that Detroit wants Ross to return and increase his role as a receiver, freeing up Tate to focus on catching the ball.
That leaves two spots on the roster, at receiver, Kris Durham is the incumbent WR2, Kevin Ogletree caught 21 balls for 269 yards in 2013, and was resigned to a one year deal to return to the Lions in 2014. Oft-injured Ryan Broyles has shown explosive ability in college and in the NFL when healthy. Broyles has had 3 season ending injuries, 2 ACLS and last year a torn achilles tendon.
It is safe to say Broyles if healthy will take a spot, if he had been healthier he would have been a top talent coming out of Oklahoma. That leaves one spot for Naaman. Despite TJ Jones, Golden Tate and Kevin Ogletree missing time in minicamps, Naaman has not turned many heads.
I believe Naaman has the ability to be a good WR 4 in the NFL, but he hasn't been able to wow coaches in camp at Buffalo, Cleveland, New England and now in Detroit. He is hindered by his lack of 40 speed, which while he overcomes as a receiver, makes him unsuitable as a return man, and his lack of size makes him a weak special teams defender. The NFL may not be the right place, for Naaman, however there is nothing I would like to see more than a Willy-Roosevelt reunion in Winnipeg.
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