Former WVU Receiver Ryan Nehlen Gets Opportunity With Detroit Lions


October 8, 2011; Morgantown,WV, USA: West Virginia Mountaineers receiver Ryan Nehlen (center) is tackled after a pass reception by Connecticut Huskies defensive backs Jerome Junior (15) and Byron Jones (16) during the second quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. WVU won 43-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

After watching his receiving corps teammates Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey get drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the NFL draft and seeing JD Woods sign an undrafted free agent deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, former West Virginia University legacy Ryan Nehlen is getting his shot to play wide receiver at the highest level. Today, Nehlen received an invite to participate in the Detroit Lions rookie mini camp this weekend .

Nehlen, grandson of Mountaineers legendary coach Don Nehlen, will be looking to make a name for himself, starting this weekend in Detroit.

Nehlen joins a Lions roster that is in need of wide receiver depth behind All-Pro stud Calvin Johnson. The Lions struggled to get much production out of their other options at wide receiver including Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles, Mike Thomas, and Titus Young.

With Young out and Broyles and Thomas struggling to live up to expectations, Nehlen will join a congested wide receiver group vying for a roster spot. The Lions have become the destination for wide receivers who have not lived up to expectations. They have signed draft busts such as Devin Thomas and Brian Robiskie in hopes that they can find their game once again. The Lions also burned a third round pick on Corey Fuller from Virginia Tech.

Ryan Nehlen has a huge hill to climb to make the Lions roster with so many other receivers on the depth chart. He will need to showcase his sure hands and high football IQ to get an invite to fall training camp.

This weekend is the first of many challenges for Nehlen on his path to becoming an NFL wide receiver.