Teams that make the playoffs typically have a really good quarterback and coach and good overall talent at key positions. The teams that make the playoffs consistently however, typically draft extremely well, finding diamonds in the rough in the late rounds of the draft.
The Detroit Lions, a team striving for consistency, has done everything well this offseason, from their additions through free agency and the draft, and they may have found a diamond in the rough in undrafted free agent Joseph Fauria. Widely considered a developmental player, Fauria could have a big impact for the Lions should he make the roster.
At 6’7″, 259 lbs. Fauria is a tall lean tight end with excellent leaping ability, reliable hands – a trait the Lions will covet after their tight ends had problems with drops. And his most important trait is his ability to make catches in tight coverage by using his frame to box out defenders, and his leaping ability and length to go up higher than defenders. At UCLA last season, Fauria registered 12 touchdowns, proving to be a top target in the red zone.
Fauria fell in the draft because his body is slender making him unlikely to have a long NFL career, and becuase he lacks elite speed. However, the traits Fauria does posses could be lethal for the Lions offense with the weapons they have already put around Matthew Stafford
Take a look at the video below where Fauria scores two touchdowns against Nebraska. In this video Fauria demonstrates his excellent route running and footwork on the first touchdown, and his understanding of how to use his size and “box out” the defender, while making a difficult catch.
Fauria may not be the fastest guy on the field, but route running, hands, athleticism, and instincts, are all traits that transition well into the NFL.
In this next video Fauria shows off his athleticism against Colorado as he dives into the endzone on his first score from five yards out. Next you’ll see Fauria make a spectacular catch as he finds his way into the endzone for the second time.
Fauria’s skill set may be exactly what the Lions are missing in their passing game. Imagine a two tight end set with Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson on the outside and Reggie Bush in the backfield. With those options at the skill positions and Matthew Stafford at quarterback, the Lions should have no trouble finding the end zone for six, an area the Lions struggled last season.