Allen Park — When projecting the Detroit Lions’ depth chart after the draft and free agency, it was easy to slot Breshad Perriman into one of the starting receiver spots.
A former first-rounder who previously played for Lions first-year receiver coach Antwaan Randle-El in Tampa Bay, Perriman fit the mold of players the Lions were looking for this offseason, possessing size and an obvious skill set, but also having something to prove, which kept their price tag reasonable.
But the durability concerns that have dogged Perriman his entire career have put him in a position where he’s gone from projected starter to roster bubble.
“I think it’s hard to say right now,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “There just hasn’t been enough out there. He had the hip injury and then he comes back, he was solid the other night for the plays that he had, but yet he had an (offensive pass interference), which he knows better than. He didn’t need to do that. His speed and the route is enough to where he would win on that.
“I think he’ll be better coming off of this hip,” Campbell continued. “He kind of got a game under him, but I think that room right now is still up for grabs. I think there is a heavy competition going on in that room right now.”
About the only receivers who could be viewed as roster locks heading into the third and final preseason game are Tyrell Williams and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown. Williams will likely start on the outside and figures to be quarterback Jared Goff’s No. 1 option from the corps to start the season, while St. Brown is trending toward starting the year as the team’s top slot option.
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Opposite Williams, Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus are challenging for the job Perriman was expected to win.
And at the back end of the group, Tom Kennedy is pushing for a job after leading the team is receiving yards in each of the first two preseason games.
“I like Tom,” Campbell said. “We’ll see where this goes. He’s still competing, but I’ll tell you what, what you see is what it is. He just makes plays. If feel like I’m going to beat this into the ground, but we’re getting to the point now where it’s like you want to find guys that you trust.
“… We trust Tom Kennedy right now,” Campbell said. “He’s another guy that does what he’s supposed to do, when he’s supposed to do it, he knows where to go, he can play all three spots, and he makes plays. When we need a play, he makes plays and he has just shown up. Once again, it’s hard to ignore it, it just is.”
The biggest road block for Kennedy is his lack of versatility. At 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, he’s primarily a slot receiver, which would put him behind St. Brown and Raymond on the depth chart. And his main special teams contributions are as a return man, where he’s once again finds himself behind Raymond.
With the third preseason game, the Lions will look to see if they can find another spot on special teams where Kennedy can contribute, to better justify keeping him on the final roster.
Backup QB update
Another roster battle that should be sorted out after the third preseason game is backup quarterback. Through the first two exhibition contests, David Blough has outplayed Tim Boyle, the presumed frontrunner for the role.
And when you consider Boyle’s advantage in arm strength and mobility, which encouraged the Lions to sign him as a free agent, he probably still holds the edge in the competition, despite subpar preseason production.
But it begs the question, could the Lions keep three quarterbacks to start the year?
“We’re going to have some decisions to make over the next week,” Campbell said. “I have no problem keeping three, I’d start with that, if there is three that are worthy of keeping. Right now, I would say that Boyle and Blough both, the more reps they get, the better they’re going to be for it. If you feel like you have three that you can trust, then it is hard to let go one of those guys, it really is.”
Wright tightens competition
All offseason, Alize Mack has looked to have the inside track on Detroit’s third tight end job, but that gap has narrowed in recent weeks as undrafted rookie Brock Wright continues to impress.
Listed at 6-foot-4, 259 pounds, Wright was utilized mainly as a blocker during his time at Notre Dame. But he’s showing the Lions he has more to offer as a pass-catcher, hauling in a 15-yard throw against the Steelers on Saturday.
“The funny thing about Brock is he is a fast guy,” tight end coach Ben Johnson said. “Like he is a 4.6 (40-yard dash) tight end, which I think, a lot of people when you watch his Notre Dame tape, because he wasn’t asked to do much, you second guess.
“He goes out there, he runs very, very well for a man his size, and he catches the ball well,” Johnson said. “You saw that in the game. He came up for a big play for us over the middle of the field. I have a lot of confidence in what he can do in terms of the pass game, being a reliable receiver and catching that ball. He can stretch the field more than teams think. I’m encouraged about what he brings to the table as a receiver, as opposed to what he showed in his college tape.”
The Lions released offensive lineman Evan Boehm off injured reserve with a settlement on Monday. With Boehm out ahead of last Saturday’s game, and Pro Bowler Frank Ragnow among the veterans being rested by the coaching staff, Evan Brown played all 61 snaps at center for Detroit.