- September 12, 2021
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When Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes decided to cut ties with wide receiver Breshad Perriman, some believed the team would be thin at wide receiver.
Then, Holmes branched out and made two new additions.
In Trinity Benson and KhaDeral Hodge, Detroit has two new, young receivers coming to town. Between the two, there’s just 39 total games of experience. All of those games belong to Hodge, who played the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns.
Hodge has familiarity with Detroit’s brass, having been in L.A. while Holmes and assistant general manager Ray Agnew were executives. Following his one year with the Rams, he spent the next two with Cleveland and John Dorsey, who is also now in the Lions’ front office.
Hodge was claimed off waivers by Holmes and company from the Browns.
“It’s a real good thing, knowing I’ve got people here who believe in me and believe in my talents and believe in what I can do,” Hodge said. “I like that.”
Benson, meanwhile, was an unknown. After being signed to a reserve/futures contract in January, the East Central University alum had a strong preseason for the Denver Broncos. Detroit’s director of pro scouting, Rob Lohman, approached Holmes before cut day to gauge his interest in making a move for this emerging wideout.
“Who the hell is Trinity Benson,” Holmes asked Lohman.
Upon watching the tape, Holmes was sold. Speaking with the media last week, Holmes said he and his staff saw Benson as the top wideout that could potentially become available. Rather than wait to see if he’d be available on waivers, Detroit offered up a trio of late-round picks to go get him.
“It’s a blessing in disguise, man,” Benson said. “It shows that they were really interested in me and they really got plans for me in the future.”
In a receiver room devoid of proven talent, the new duo could very well emerge as contributors over the course of the season. However, it will be a test early as both are in their first week with the organization.
Hodge, a high school quarterback, is aware of the fact he may need to contribute on special teams first. He stands 6-foot-2 and plays physical, making him a good fit for the Lions’ special units.
“Since I’ve been in the league, I’ve been on all four (special) teams,” Hodge said. “Whether it’s kickoff or kick return, punt or punt return, I take a lot of pride in what I do. Whether it’s special teams or offense. I try to go out there each play and give my all. I want to be the best.”
Benson, meanwhile, is a candidate to contribute in the return game. In the 2021 preseason, he was the Broncos’ leading return man in terms of yards while catching all eight of the passes thrown his way for 80 yards and two scores.
“I feel like I was having a pretty good camp (in Denver),” Benson said. “I followed it up with good games.”
Right now, it appears the Lions are approaching Benson with a ‘grow-as-you-go’ mindset. He mentioned right now, it’s about learning the playbook and becoming familiar with the team.
“They basically want me to come and continue to do what I was doing that they saw on the tape, and the plays I was making,” Benson said. “They just want me to continue doing that and continue to learn the offense and keep getting better.”
Benson and Hodge are likely behind Tyrell Williams, Quintez Cephus and Amon-Ra St. Brown on the depth chart. Each will compete for Tom Kennedy and Kalif Raymond for snaps as the season begins. Special teams is the likely destination for both early – either as cover guys or, in Benson’s case, potentially the return game.
It’s clear the Lions saw potential with the two youngsters. Now, it’s about developing that potential and finding a role for them.
“We just felt that confident about him (Benson). It was like, ‘Hey, look, let’s just get him,” Holmes said last week. “He’s got a bright future, he’s got a lot of upside. He’s young.’ Again, as we kept stacking — it’s a collaborative effort. It’s not just me and (Director of Pro Scouting) Rob Lohman who thought that he was the best. No, it’s me and the rest of the personnel department. It was (Wide Receivers Coach Antwaan) Randle El saying, ‘Yes, he’s the top guy.’ It’s Dan (Campbell) looking at him and saying, ‘Oh yeah, I really love this Benson.’ It’s a collaborative effort. So, it’s total buy-in to make you feel really, really good about it and say, ‘Hey, look, maybe you can just sit back and wait and put in a claim and see if you get lucky.’ But no, we felt confident enough to say, ‘Let’s just go ahead and see if we can make something happen to go get him.’”
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This article first appeared on FanNation All Lions and was syndicated with permission.
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