Welcome to Tuesday 10, where every Tuesday over the summer, we'll count down 10 Detroit Lions who are vital to the team's success in 2013. Today, we kick things off with a look at a young key cog in the offense.
Just as he was beginning to come into his own in the NFL and learn the ropes, Detroit Lions' rookie wide receiver Ryan Broyles had another injury setback similar to the one he sustained in his final season with the Oklahoma Sooners.
In a December game against the Indianapolis Colts, Broyles went down on an innocent looking play. He rolled on his back and his knee turned, but he exited the field. Only later did everyone learn that Broyles had torn his right ACL, the opposite of the knee he had injured in college. It was a devastating blow to Detroit's offense and a young player's personal growth and development.
Broyles had just enjoyed a fantastic game against the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day, where he went for 126 yards (his single game high) and was targeted numerous times by Matthew Stafford making clutch catches along the way. In the five games prior, Broyles had put forth 181 yards and two touchdowns, proving he was picking things up after starting the season off as largely a non-factor.
Entering 2013 without a true marquee second option to pair with Calvin Johnson, Broyles' rebound is the most important thing for Detroit's offense. He was coming into his own when the injury bug bit again and looking the part of a solid number two, and he'll have to shake off the rust and get into game shape in a hurry.
With speed and slick cutting ability across the middle of the field sideline to sideline, a healthy Broyles could quietly become the Lions' second most valuable offensive weapon other than Johnson. Not only can a player like Broyles help move the chains and sustain drives, he can contribute big plays in the red zone as well, as he did with both of his scores last year.
Fortunately for Detroit, it sounds like Broyles is healing up nicely. He's getting stronger after rehabbing the knee and figures to be ready by the time week one rolls around. For a Lions' team always in need of more offensive weaponry, that could be the best news of the offseason.
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