HOUSTON -- Cris Carter was a big fan of Golden Tate last season. Anquan Boldin, too. He thinks Boldin <a href="http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-cris-carter-jersey-c-2_40.html">Cris Carter Authentic Jersey</a> could still play another year, maybe two.
But Marvin Jones?
"To me, he was a disappointment," the Hall of Fame receiver said during Super Bowl week. "Just based on what I expected that I was going to see from him."
Bob Quinn's first free-agent class was a pretty <a href="http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-cris-carter-jersey-c-2_40.html">Cris Carter Kids Jersey</a> good one in Detroit. Boldin led the Lions in receiving touchdowns, and was among the league's best receivers on third down. Tavon Wilson and Rafael Bush helped provide some key depth alongside Glover Quin at safety. Andre Roberts housed two punts for touchdowns.
All were bargain buys who provided excellent returns on investment. In fact, Jones, who was supposed to be the jewel of the class, wound up being the biggest miss.
He was an excellent No. 2 receiver behind A.J. Green in Cincinnati, and the Lions were desperate to replace the retired Calvin Johnson. So Quinn offered <a href="http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-danielle-hunter-jersey-c-2_6.html">Danielle Hunter Authentic Jersey</a> him a five-year, $40 million to pry him away from the Bengals. And it looked like the move would be a fruitful one, too, when Jones exploded for 482 receiving yards the first four weeks of the season.
That led the league.
But then he had just 448 yards the rest of the way.
Jones finished with 930 overall, which ranked second on <a href="http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-cris-carter-jersey-c-2_40.html">http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-cris-carter-jersey-c-2_40.html the team and was a career high. But he also averaged just 41 yards per game the final 12 games of the season, and was held to a single catch in three of the final seven.
"I just thought he would be better," Carter said. "I just thought he was going to have a great opportunity playing opposite Golden Tate. Matthew Stafford really has developed. He's one of the great throwers we have in the league. But there were times when they needed (Jones), and he didn't show up big.
"He didn't make enough big plays, given the coverages they were playing. He got a lot of single coverage. That's just what I saw."
Jones drew some double <a href="http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-danielle-hunter-jersey-c-2_6.html">http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-danielle-hunter-jersey-c-2_6.html teams after his big opening month, but defenses also began playing some aggressive press-man on him, and that proved to be enough to take him out of games. He has great footwork, especially along the sideline, and deceptive downfield speed, but struggled to gain separation as defenses got more physical with him.
Now there are questions about whether he's a No. 1-type receiver, or if he's best suited as a complementary receiver, like the role he filled alongside Green for four seasons in Cincinnati.
"How good is he? You tell me. Because I don't know," Carter said. "I don't know how good he is. Most guys, when they're a No. 3 or a No. 4, and they pay them the money to make them a No. 2 or a No. 3, it doesn't necessarily work out that way.
"But I think he still think he has room to develop."
If Jones doesn't develop, that could pose some issues for the Lions. Tate continues to produce at a high level -- he's surpassed 90 catches in all three seasons with Detroit, and 1,000 yards in two of them -- but isn't much of a downfield threat. Boldin caught a <a href="http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-emmanuel-lamur-jersey-c-2_49.html">http://www.authenticvikingsshop.com/shop-by-players-emmanuel-lamur-jersey-c-2_49.html team-high eight touchdown passes, but this late in his career, he's more of a possession receiver because of his diminished speed -- and there's no guarantee he's even back next year, given that he's still mulling whether he wants to play another season, and he's eligible to hit free agency in March if he does return.
"I'm a huge fan of Anquan Boldin," Carter said. "Truly one of the true ambassadors of the National Football League. How to be a wide receiver. How to take it real, real slow and work at your craft. Be a technician. Run routes. Be physical. Be a professional. Golden Tate had an outstanding year too -- he and Matthew Stafford have a tremendous chemistry. He's underrated as a wide receiver.
"But besides that, do they have anyone else? They have Marvin Jones, but I'm not sure what he is."