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Jeremy Ross' struggles in the return game in Week 17 and postseason has the Lions investigating ways to upgrade that spot.

On Friday, the Lions hosted former William & Mary wide receiver Tre McBride on a pre-draft visit, yet another player who has return experience.

In addition to McBride, the Lions have hosted Kansas State's Tyler Lockett, UAB's J.J. Nelson, Utah's Kaelin Clay and Missouri's Marcus Murphy, all players who are among the top returners in the draft.

The 6-foot, 210-pound McBride is a likely third- or fourth-round pick. At the combine, he had a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, a 38-inch vertical jump and a 122-inch broad jump.

McBride had at least 55 catches and 800 yards each of the last three seasons for William & Mary, a Virginia college that plays in the Football Championship Subdivision.

While the Lions could use a spark at receiver, McBride's return skills make him appealing. He averaged 23.1 yards on his 56 kickoff returns the last three years. He returned just 11 punts in college, but averaged 11.1 yards.

Lions special teams coordinator Joe Marciano said recently he expects there to be a competition for return duties. Ross will have a chance to keep his role, but his struggles under pressure last season didn't help.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

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