Rookie Ryan Broyles will be heard from — eventually. But I hope nobody expects it soon.
The Lions knew what they were getting when they took Broyles in the second round. They were getting a talented receiver and punt returner who fit their offensive scheme perfectly. They were getting, they believed, Nate Burleson’s eventual replacement.
But the Lions also knew they were getting a player who had major knee surgery on Nov. 21, 2011. They knew it was going to take some time, a long time, for him to be the player they expect him to be. They made that very clear on draft day. Martin Mayhew said plainly that there was no need to rush him into the fray, that they had the luxury of going slow with him.
Broyles, to his credit, has pushed the timetable. He is further ahead physically than they originally projected. The Lions wouldn’t have been alarmed if Broyles had to start this season on PUP; but he was able to get through training camp and the four exhibition games. He was able to show glimpses of the player they think he can be.
But he’s still not all the way there. There is still soreness when he practices multiple days and his speed and fluidity aren’t fully back. It will get there.
In the meantime, don’t hold your breath waiting for Broyles to be active on game day for a few more weeks — barring injury, of course. He’s not ready to give the Lions more in a four receiver package than tight end Tony Scheffler and he’s not ready to take the punt return duties away from Stefan Logan.
The Lions planned all along to be patient with Broyles. Sooner or later he will get his chance. It might be after the bye week, it might be in the final four games of the season, it might be next season.
Any of those scenarios is OK. The Lions are not presently hurting for production or options at wide receiver.