Realistic expectations for new Lions WR Marvin Jones (He’s not Calvin Johnson)

Shortly after absorbing the shock of Calvin Johnson‘s retirement, the Lions went to work on trying to find a way to restore some of the production they were losing. Obviously, there is no way to replace him, in production or presence. But, they moved quickly to sign the best wide receiver on the open market: Marvin Jones.

Though he was stuck in the number two wide receiver spot behind A.J. Green during his time in with the Cincinnati Bengals, Jones still has plenty of potential. In the last two seasons he has played in (he missed the 2014 season with an ankle injury), Jones has averaged 91 targets, 58 catches, 764 yards, and seven touchdowns (10 in 2013, four in 2015). Though the touchdown number from last season may seem low, remember that Green scores a lot of touchdowns, plus Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert snagged 13 for himself as well.

General manager Bob Quinn likes what Jones bring to the table, as well. “I thought Marvin was a very good route runner,” Quinn told detroitlions.com after the signing. “He’s not just a one-dimensional receiver. He can run vertical routes, he can run short routes, he can run intermediate routes. He’s got very good hands, so I think he’s a guy that can get open and catch the football.”

So what can we expect to see from Jones in his first year with the Lions? Given that there is no certain “number one” receiver, with Jones and Golden Tate in somewhat of a competition for that tag, both could benefit from some competition from one another. Jones is much more of a vertical threat than Tate is, however, as evidenced in Tate’s 813 yards on 90 catches last season (9.03 yards per catch).

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Since no receiver on this team will have the physical advantages that Calvin Johnson had throughout his career, they will have to rely on their craftiness. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who should have more time to operate in the pocket with new pieces on the offensive line, will have to work more within a set range instead of tossing a deep ball into double coverage.

Jones has the tools and pedigree to be a number one receiver, he just hasn’t had a chance to show that he can handle the spotlight. This might be the year.

My prediction for Marvin Jones in 2015: 74 catches, 915 yards, 9 touchdowns.

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