Lions Notes: Durham in thick of Lions’ receiver competition

Kris Durham has 49 receptions and three touchdowns while playing in 23 regular-season games.

Tim Fuller

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Injuries and lack of quality depth left Kris Durham as the Detroit Lions’ No. 2 receiver at times last season.

Now he’s in a competition simply for a job.

With Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Jeremy Ross (return specialist) locked into three slots, the Lions probably have three other openings for receivers on their 53-man roster.

Although undrafted rookie Andrew Peacock leads the team with six receptions in the first two preseason games, the competition appears to be between Kevin Ogletree, Ryan Broyles, Durham and Corey Fuller.

"There’s a lot of guys fighting for it," Durham said. "It’s a friendly competition. You just try to put your best body of work out there.

"You just do what you can do, play to the best of your ability and don’t worry about the things you can’t control."

Durham, who has four receptions for 17 yards entering Friday’s game against Jacksonville, made a big catch last week when he snatched a pass away from an Oakland defensive back for a touchdown.

"It’s a confidence-boost," Durham said of the TD.

Ogletree, who has gotten a lot of time with the first-team offense throughout training camp, has only one catch for 16 yards.

Broyles, coming back from his third straight season-ending injury, is making a strong case for a spot with five receptions for 69 yards while starting to look healthier each day.

Meanwhile, Fuller, a sixth-round draft pick last year, has two catches for 36 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in the preseason opener.

Fuller is eligible to be placed on the practice squad for the second straight year, but he’s played well enough that the Lions could lose him to another team if he’s not included in the top 53.

Peacock, from Appalachian State, is a likely candidate for the practice squad.

Durham’s experience could be the difference for him making the roster again. He has 49 receptions and three touchdowns while playing in 23 regular-season games, including 16 starts, in his three NFL seasons.

"Kris is smart," coach Jim Caldwell said. "He does a good job just in terms of understanding the offense. He caught the ball well last week. He blocks for us well.

"I’ve been impressed with him. He works extremely hard. He loves this game, has a great passion for it."

EXTRA POINTS

— Although Caldwell said defensive tackle Nick Fairley played better against Oakland after losing his starting job to C.J. Mosley last week, Fairley’s status hasn’t changed yet.

"He’s not starting; he’s second team," Caldwell said. "It’s a long week. We’ve got a lot of work to do in-between. We’ll take a look at where we are and make an assessment on that toward the end of the week."

— Receiver Golden Tate, who played for the Seattle Seahawks last year, on the improvement of Fuller: "I wish I could have been here last year. Well, not really since I won the Super Bowl. … But I wish I could have seen Corey. I hear he’s night and day. He’s become a great athlete on this team, on special teams. He’s been making a lot of big plays (offensively)."

— Safety DeJon Gomes didn’t practice Monday because of a neck injury.