Notes: Lions receiving corps ranked near bottom of NFL for 2021

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks, I hate it.

What goes up, must come down. That’s what they say, right?

Pro Football Focus ranked each NFL’s team’s receiving corps ahead of the 2021 season and the Detroit Lions came in near dead last at No. 31. (The only team below the Lions are the Houston Texans.)

PFF’s Steve Palazzolo explains the roster overhaul was the source of this low ranking. He’s right — the pass-catching unit will look entirely different than just a year ago.

He pointed out something I hadn’t thought of: “They’ve become one of the biggest groups in the league with the additions of 6-foot-4 Tyrell Williams, 6-foot-2 Breshad Perriman and 6-foot-3 Geronimo Allison,” he writes.

I do recall height was something analysts loved about Kenny Golladay standing at 6-foot-4. Palazzolo goes on to touch on tight ends, highlighting T.J. Hockenson’s progress to 10th-best among tight ends with a PFF grade of 75.4. Many of those analysts are also calling Hock a major breakout candidate in 2021.

“Darren Fells also joins the Lions after a career-high 69.4 grade last season with the Texans. He adds even more size to the mix, as the 6-foot-7 270-pounder has developed into a good red-zone threat,” he said.

Despite all the potential he pointed out, this year’s receiving corps still come in at No. 31. This ranking comes in stark contrast from last year. In May 2020, Jeremy reported PFF ranked the Detroit Lions sixth on their list of top receiving corps.

That, of course, is before the new Lions regime blew up the roster, and stars like Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. were still sporting Honolulu blue.

It was a huge drop, but hopefully things bounce back soon. Life is a rollercoaster, right? Ups and downs? In fact, as the “Happy Gilmore” proverb says: “Feel the flow Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse, it goes up and down, and AROUND. It’s circular. Circle, with the music, the flow. All good things.”

And onto the rest of your notes.

Training camp is just around the corner. Using beat writers’ analysis and a little bit of intuition, PFF’s Ben Lindsey projects the starting lineups for all 32 teams entering camp, including an unlisted player to watch. PFF also selected the biggest training camp battle for each NFL team. For Detroit, they say it’s between a pair of cornerbacks competing for the starting job opposite Jeffrey Okudah.

Last week we covered how Pro Football Reference updated their sack statistics through the year 1960, which made defensive end Al “Bubba” Baker the single-season sack leader in his rookie year. The Athletic’s Jay Morrison explains how a special duo with a big goal to dive into the past made it all happen. (Subscription required.)

I don’t know about you but I always get a kick out of the cross-sport hangouts. The Tigers hosted some Lions players, John Fox and Romeo Okwara, on Saturday at the Summer Bash.

Thanks for having us @tigers❗️ #OnePride | #DetroitRoots | #DetroitUp | #LGRW

— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 18, 2021’s Tim Twentyman has some great training camp preview pieces. Today’s position — cornerbacks. The thing to watch — the third running back role.

This Adrian Peterson piece from popped up on my feed today. Finishing up a single season with the Lions at 35 years old, he says he still hopes to play a 15th season.

Agents of chaos, The Athletic’s beat writers chose one division rival player to add to a team’s roster. I imagine you can guess, but see who Nick Baumgardner chose to add to the Lions here. (Subscription required.)

Some positivity for you — this piece explores every NFL team’s biggest reason for optimism heading into training camp.

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