Is it possible the Detroit Lions are okay at tight end?
By Robert Jones
The Lions lone holdover from active duty last season is second year man Michael Roberts. His rookie season was highlighted mostly for getting on the field to block. Something he wasn’t bad at, but can still stand to improve on.
He lit up the stat sheet with a blazing four total catches for the entire season.
So yeah, there are reasons to be a little concerned about how much he will be ready to contribute this season.
Roberts was a big, athletic receiving threat in college at the University of Toledo. He dominated in the red zone and seemed to almost score at will. However, the difference between Toledo and the NFL is like the difference between night and popsicles.
They’re almost not even the same sport.
Yet for anyone who watched Roberts in the preseason last year, the flashes of talent he displayed were undeniable. When you factor in that the tight end position is one of the hardest for a rookie to come in and excel at, then we all need to temper our concern.
Roberts was a fourth round pick that contributed mostly as a blocker while getting his feet wet, but certainly seems to have the ability to eventually become a factor in the Lions offense. How big of a jump he makes will determine how much more he can contribute, but no one should expect him to reach his full potential yet.
He will get opportunities to contribute and hopefully he can make the most of them.
The Lions did sign free agent Levine Toilolo from the Atlanta Falcons, but while he brings great size to the table (6’8″, 268 lbs) his hands haven’t been much better then the linemen he is almost as big as.
His career achievement has been to contribute as a blocker. Lions head coach Matt Patricia will give him opportunities throughout practices, training camp and the upcoming exhibition season to prove he be a receiver as well, but considering the lack of chances he had in Atlanta, who also like to throw the ball, I can’t say I’m optimistic he will ‘wow’ us.