Could Tre’Quan Smith be the hidden depth answer for the Lions at WR?

One of the biggest uncertainties facing the Detroit Lions as the second week of OTAs commences is the depth at wide receiver. There’s a lot of unease amongst the Lions fan base about the wideouts after Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams and Kalif Raymond. Heck, there are many fans who have considerable doubts about Jamo, Raymond and fellow returnee Donovan Peoples-Jones as an entire group.

Detroit opted to avoid chasing higher-profile wide receivers in free agency. They also eschewed drafting a wideout in the 2024 NFL Draft despite the class being widely perceived as very deep and very good.

However, the Lions did quietly sign an experienced wide receiver this offseason. One with 35 career starts and a two-TD game against Detroit on his NFL résumé, no less:

Tre’Quan Smith.

Now wearing No. 10 for the Lions, Smith spent five seasons (2018-2022) in New Orleans as a sometimes-starter who played over 66 percent of offensive snaps in his first four seasons. Smith was a third-round pick by the Saints in 2018 out of UCF after an impressive career as a deep threat with some savvy to his route-running.

Smith’s career with the Saints never quite panned out, though he did catch 131 passes in five seasons, scoring 18 touchdowns. By way of comparison, Smith caught a higher percentage of targets for more total yards, yards per reception and double the touchdowns than the man he’s hoping to replace in Detroit, Josh Reynolds, did in his first five years in the NFL (2017-2021).

To say he didn’t work out well in New Orleans is an understatement; check out this over-the-top celebration of Smith’s release from a Louisiana sports radio show. There were untimely drops, minor injury issues, missed blocking assignments, avoidable penalties and a general unreliability that Lions fans of a certain age might associate (outside of one great year) with Germaine Crowell.

Smith got a shot at redemption with the Denver Broncos in 2023 but managed just 10 offensive snaps while spending almost all year on the practice squad.

It’s a low-risk shot for the Lions to extend one last chance to Smith, who is very familiar for coach Dan Campbell from his Saints days. Smith is in Detroit on a future/reserve contract, the same basic status as an undrafted rookie — and a lesser commitment from the team than UDFA Isaiah Williams. Smith has no appreciable experience playing special teams, a general requisite for the bottom of the roster players.

It might amount to nothing. It wouldn’t surprise many, certainly none in Saints land, if Smith doesn’t even make it to training camp in July. But don’t write Tre’Quan Smith off just yet. If he’s got anything left to offer, Smith will have ample opportunity to show it over the upcoming OTAs and minicamp at a position where the Lions could really use an unexpected jolt of fresh optimism.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire