Detroit Lions wide receiver T.J. Jones knows his job status might be on thin ice. After a tremendous college career at Notre Dame, he suffered an arm injury in their bowl game that season and has not yet been able to fully recover. Knowing that wide receivers drafted in the sixth round don’t usually get many second chances, Jones understands the importance of preparing for his second year in the NFL.
“It’s, I think, my most important (off-season),” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I think it’s getting back to playing football again, teaching yourself how to catch, how to run routes, how to be a professional athlete.”
After catching 181 passes for 2,429 yards and 19 touchdowns in his four year college career, Jones has yet to take the field in the NFL. He was a big time offensive threat, but has not been able to see what he can do on the NFL gridiron to this point.
The wide receiver position battle for the Lions can really be broken up into three separate tiers. The first tier belongs solely to Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. They are, without question, the top two receivers on the team. The second tier involves a variety of players competing for the number three receiver spot. Included here would be Jeremy Ross, and Lance Moore. Corey Fuller could be included here, but he will most likely remain in the number four spot.
The third tier would include the rest of the receivers on the team competing to make the final roster. Names such as Jones, Ryan Broyles, Andrew Peacock, Greg Salas, Vernon Johnson, and Jarred Haggins will be competing for this spot.
While the majority of the players in the third tier are likely to be left on the practice squad to begin the season, the Lions know all to well that depth is very important. Jones would most likely be towards the high end of the list on the third tier, but if he doesn’t make the team out of camp, it is hard to imagine he would be given another opportunity in Detroit.