Jamal Agnew Could Be Lions' Secret Offensive Weapon

Why Jamal Agnew could be Lions' secret offensive weapon in 2020
Publish date:

One notable aspect of the Lions' virtual offseason has been cornerback Jamal Agnew sitting in on the receiver meetings. 

Recently, NBC Sports' Peter King had the opportunity to join a meeting with Lions receiver coach Robert Prince and his wideouts. 

Interestingly enough, Agnew was present on the call.

It’s unclear at this time if this will be a permanent switch for Agnew because he does have some experience on the Lions' offense in the past. 

Maybe the Lions would like to cross-train Agnew more to increase his value.

We don’t know if he has solely been on offensive meetings or if a full switch is in the works. 

King even went as far as calling Agnew a converted defensive back, though.

For much of Agnew’s career, he has been essentially just a specialist -- only seeing time on defense due to injuries. 

Overall, his impact on defense has been minimal.

In 2019, he saw 11 snaps as an outside receiver and five in the slot -- 10 of those offensive looks coming in the season finale. 

Agnew caught one of two targets for a loss of two yards.

In his career, he also has four rushing attempts -- only one in 2019 -- for a grand total of 35 yards. Not a bad average.

Despite 16 offensive snaps last year, he only saw a total of 21 plays on defense.

With how crowded the Lions' cornerback room is, being a versatile offensive weapon could bolster Agnew’s chances of making the team.

The 2017 first-team All-Pro returner has legit speed and agility that has translated well to the NFL level. 

After starting off strong, ball-security issues and injuries have hampered his success. 

For whatever reason, the fourth-year player hasn’t been able to put all of his athleticism together on defense, either.

If Agnew is officially changing positions, can he be the secret weapon in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s scheme?

In short, probably not -- at least not at a consistent level.

Make no mistake, Agnew’s best trait is his ability with the ball in his hands. 

He is a dynamic playmaker and in a league that obsesses over speed, he would provide the Lions with another speed option behind Marvin Hall. 

Outside of those two, the Lions are sorely lacking for fast wide receivers who can create separation. 

Important to note, general manager Bob Quinn did just draft running back Jason Huntley from New Mexico State. He also has some serious pass-catching chops from the slot. 

It remains to be seen how frequently the Lions want to use Huntley outside of the halfback position, though. 

It’s possible Huntley and Agnew are fighting for the same roster spot.

Now, before anyone gets carried away, converting to wide receiver is no easy task. 

There are veteran NFL wide receivers that are still a work in progress with route running. 

It’s unlikely Agnew will immediately be able to pick up the nuance of the position.

If his routes are simplified and watered down a bit, there is some potential. 

In all likelihood, though, Agnew will only be a gadget player with certain plays called just for him to get the ball in open space -- screens, jet sweeps, reverses and other trick-type plays. 

At a certain point, he could even be a nice decoy to help set up others.

All in all, Agnew seeing the field on offense will likely be more beneficial to the Lions compared to what he provides to the defense. 

Just don’t expect much other than novelty plays in a limited capacity.


Ex-Lions TE Luke Wilson Aids in Merging Veterans and NFL Players

SI Lions Roundtable: Will the Lions Carry 3 Quarterbacks?

Early Look at Detroit Lions Starters

Lions are "Dark Horse" to Win NFC North

4 Worst Calls That Have Gone against the Lions

Matthew Stafford's Man Cave Has 'Lounge Feel'