Battle for Lions final wide receivers spots intensifies

(WXYZ) - The names at the top of the Lions depth chart at wide receiver are set.

Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, and Ryan Broyles are locks to make the 53-man roster, but from there, the competition begins.

There are a lot of names with a lot of work yet to be done.


"You come to work everyday. It's like that day in and day out. Regardless if it's season, preseason, it doesn't really matter," Kris Durham said.

Durham, Patrick Edwards, Matt Willis, Corey Fuller, Mike Thomas, and a host of others are jockeying for the fourth and fifth slots in the wideout pecking order.

"It's a good competition. Everybody's good and everybody's showing up for practice. You just gotta carry production from the practice field to the game field," Edwards said.

What does it take to win a job with this group? Each player working to stay with the team offers something different. Durham proved he can play in limited work last season, Edwards has speed and can return punts, while Willis showed last week he is capable of one acrobatic catch after another.

"It's the past. It doesn't really matter," Durham said of his eight catches for 125 yards in the Lions last four games in 2012.

"It's what you can do right now to help this team win."

Willis shined in the team's 26-17 win over the New York Jets last week. Two spectacular catches went a long way in the coaches' eyes.

"That's what it's all about. It's all about making plays when it counts," Jim Schwartz said.

To no one's surprise, Willis agreed.

"That's 100 percent of it. You put weight on a guy being able to perform in a game situation against the best players he's gonna play against," Willis said.

Edwards has been in a position battle separate from the receivers during camp, but the combination of his performance on offense and special teams may ensure his spot on the team.

Micheal Spurlock came into camp as a favorite to replace Stefan Logan as a kick and punt returner, but has slipped to the back of the pack at wide receiver.

Enter Edwards, who was the team's punt returner for the first three punts against the Jets. After a four-yard return, and a touchback, Edwards took a punt back 24 yards before having it called back. His versatility was a positive last season before he missed the season on injured reserve. Now, it's something that could earn him a spot over others at his position.

"It helps me a lot because, special teams is the most important, especially if you're undrafted looking to make the team. You gotta show up on special teams and I feel that'll help me as well as playing receiver," he said.

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli


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