The talented tight ends in the 2019 draft class offer many options the Detroit Lions could select in the first three rounds to give their offense a boost.
The Detroit Lions have not received much production from their group of tight ends this year. The tight ends they run out onto the field each week are tight ends Luke Willson, Michael Roberts, and Levine Toilolo.
This trio of tight ends that they rely on each Sunday have amassed a meager 28 targets; catching 20 of those for 181 yards, and three touchdowns. Projecting that out for the rest of the season would mean the position group finishing the season with only 40 receptions, 362 yards, and six touchdowns.
Last season in 2017, with tight end Eric Ebron leading the position group, he alone finished the season with 53 receptions, 574 yards, and four touchdowns. The position group as a whole finished with 74 receptions, 797 yards, and seven touchdowns. Without a real threat to lead the tight ends, opposing defenses have focused more on other areas of the Lions’ offense and it shows when watching the games.
Detroit needs someone who can be a threat all over the field in the passing game the way Ebron was used last year. Having a weapon like that opens up the field more and gives the defense another player to have to worry about defending when quarterback Matthew Stafford drops back to pass. With wide receiver Golden Tate now gone (traded to the Philadelphia Eagles), having that extra aerial threat becomes even more important.
The Detroit Lions were reported having interest in New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski this offseason. They almost came to an agreement until Gronkowski threatened to retire if he were traded (which had nothing to do with the Lions, and everything to do with quarterback Tom Brady).
Motor City was likely trying to acquire Gronkowski because of his elite ability in both the passing game and blocking in the run game. He is one of the few tight ends in the NFL that does both at an elite level.
The Lions could possibly look to drafting an elite tight end of their own in the 2019 NFL draft. The upcoming class is loaded with talent at the position, many of whom could develop into elite tight ends themselves.
There are a number of tight ends I believe will get drafted on the first two days that could develop into elite tight ends at the next level. Motown could select a tight end within the first three rounds of the 2019 draft and walk away with a future superstar.