Teammate Golden Tate believes Billingsley has enough talent to earn a key role in the Detroit offense, Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press reports. "[Billingsley] reminds me a lot of a younger me," Tate said. "Just very, very shifty. I think he's got some running back in him. I think he might have played running back in college, I think. But talented guy. I'm excited for him to get his opportunity in practice and going into the preseason, and he made this team for a reason. An undrafted rookie last year, the 5-foot-9 Billingsley parlayed a strong preseason into a spot on the practice squad, which gave him time to learn how to play from the slot after splitting time between wide receiver and running back in college. With last season's slot receiver, Anquan Boldin, unsigned as the draft approaches, the Lions may need to find a replacement or else move Tate back to his pre-2016 role as the primary slot target. If Boldin signs elsewhere and the Lions decide to mostly keep Tate outside, Billingsley could be part of a competition for the No. 3 job. The competition likely would include TJ Jones, Keshawn Martin, Jared Abbrederis and potentially a rookie or two.
Billingsley was promoted to the Lions' active roster Saturday. With Theo Riddick (wrist) landing on injured reserve Saturday, Billingsley will be on the Lions' 53-man roster for Sunday's season finale against the Packers. The rookie out of Eastern Washington will add depth to the Lions' receiving corps, but it's unlikely that he'd see more than a few snaps Sunday if he is active.
Billingsley totaled 33 yards and a touchdown on three catches while also gaining 41 yards on three punt returns in Friday's 30-17 preseason victory over the Steelers. The 23-year-old receiver hauled in a 27-yard touchdown from Jake Ruddock to close out the scoring on the night while also making important contributions on special teams. Billingsley is one of a cast of thousands trying to nab a backup wide receiver role and faces an uphill climb as an undrafted free agent. However, after finishing fourth in the country with 1,931 all-purpose yards at Eastern Oregon last season, Billingsley could work his way onto the roster with additional performances of the caliber of the one he generated Friday.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/19||@New York Giants||13||21.29|
|6||10/15||@New Orleans Saints||29||24.75|
|9||11/07||@Green Bay Packers||33||29.11|
|14||12/10||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||20||22.88|
|17||12/31||Green Bay Packers||33||29.11|
|3 Year Avg||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0|