Being the NFL's worst team in 2008 has its advantages.
Detroit claimed ex-Kansas City wide receiver Will Franklin off waivers Tuesday, a source told FOXSports.com. The Lions were given the nod over four other teams who placed waiver claims — St. Louis, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Oakland — because of a worse record last season. The Lions finished as the only 0-16 squad in NFL history.
Franklin could help Detroit get back on track. A 2008 fourth-round pick from Missouri, Franklin caught seven passes for 83 yards in his rookie campaign. Franklin, though, was deemed expendable by the new Scott Pioli-Todd Haley regime in Kansas City.
The Lions are seeking receiver depth after trading Roy Williams to Dallas last October and releasing Mike Furrey in February. Bryant Johnson, who caught 45 passes for 546 yards and three touchdowns last season in San Francisco, signed early this offseason.
The Lions have essentially compensated for their (previously) vacant ‘09 fourth round draft selection in a circuitous manner, by signing free agent and a Kansas City Chiefs ‘08 fourth-rounder draft pick, WR Will Franklin, who has all of the tools (4.37 40-yard dash time, 40 1/2″ vertical jump, 10′11” broad jump) necessary, with admittedly limited experience, to become a successful NFL receiver.
This is kind of a boon for the Lions, in my opinion. Obviously, Franklin is unlikely to become a star. But Franklin should solidify their receiver group, and allows them to actually add a player with some measure of upside in the process.
The acquisition of Franklin, with the Lions not having picks in rounds 4 and 5, at least at this time, allows for the Lions to continue to focus upon the defensive side of the ball, even with their picks in the 6th and 7th rounds.
The question arises, why did the Chiefs cut this player loose? He did have an injury-riddled rookie season, but why?
Good Luck Franklin!