Johnson spoke with the local media at the 2022 NFL scouting combine and offered up what he wants at wide receiver
New Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson spoke with a select group of reporters at the 2022 NFL scouting combine on Tuesday afternoon. Johnson amicably covered several topics, but one area of emphasis stood out. He’s ready to tackle fixing the wide receiver position.
Detroit has a keeper in Amon-Ra St. Brown, who finished his rookie season as one of the best over-the-middle weapons in the entire league. But the rest of the receiving corps is thin, to be kind. Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds and KhaDarel Hodge— the next three top targets for WRs in 2021 — are free agents, while Quintez Cephus is returning from a broken shoulder. Adding help at receiver is a definite priority, and Johnson has some ideas on where the help can come.
When asked about what type of receiver the Lions might prefer this offseason, the freshly promoted Johnson broke it down.
“They come in a number of shapes and forms,” Johnson said. “But I think the definition of it is a guy who can win consistently one-on-one.”
“Whether that’s a big guy with a lot of strength and size, a guy with elite quickness or speed — it comes in a number of different ways. But we are looking for someone that, outside the numbers predominately, can win a one-on-one. And if he’s good at his job, dictates coverage. So they recognize where he’s at at all times and they start rolling his way, which will open us up for the run game and inside.”
The new coach summed it up nicely,
“We have guys that can win. We just want to see the guys that we have, or get somebody else, that can win on a more regular basis.”
In another answer, Johnson talked about the need to expand the field with receiving talent.
“The more we can expand both vertically and horizontally outside the numbers and deep down the field, the more it’s going to make the guys on the inside that much more dangerous,” Johnson said, referring to TE T.J. Hockenson and RBs D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams.
No specific college prospects or potential free agents were discussed, but Johnson’s eyes lit up when he talked about adding a bigger receiver and what that can do to help the Lions’ anemic red zone offense.