Evaluations and grades for each Detroit Lions pick in 2023 NFL Draft
By Zach Payne
Round 2 pick 34: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
Detroit added the 34th pick in the trade down from six to 12 with the Arizona Cardinals. With that selection, they went back to the Iowa well, not just in this draft but at the tight end position. Just months after trading Iowa alumni T.J. Hockenson away, they take his replacement from the same school.
Continuing a theme of Brad Holmes’ drafts, LaPorta is very athletic. He profiles as a very good pass catcher who can threaten defenses after the catch. He is also not a bad blocker, though he has room to grow in that area. Another reason this regime liked him was his character, LaPorta is a former captain (like his Iowa teammate Jack Campbell) that will fit in well from a cultural standpoint.
Some people will be upset that LaPorta was the pick over other options such as Michael Mayer and Darnell Washington. However, the Lions believe they are getting an elite pass-catching option that can develop into a very well-rounded option. Considering the Lions’ current depth chart at the position, LaPorta very well could be the starting tight end out of camp.