3 potential options for the Detroit Lions to replace Sam LaPorta

Assuming Sam LaPorta misses the Wild Card Round, at least, here are some options the Detroit Lions could turn to to replace him.

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3. Maxx Williams

Once a fairly well-regarded draft prospect with a bright future in the NFL, injuries have impacted Williams' eight-year NFL career. He came back from a torn ACL in 2021 to play 11 games for the Arizona Cardinals last year, as he did the practice squad-to-active roster carousel on a regular basis.

The Cardinals first signed Williams in 2019. That was the same year Steve Heiden landed there as the tight ends coach, and they overlapped for four seasons. Heiden is now the Lions' tight ends coach, so he would (should?) have some inherent familiarity with a former pupil and the idea they've kept in touch is not a reach. Heiden's insight would presumably be sought if the Lions have Williams on their radar at all. If he hasn't been asked for it, or offered it, already.

If Williams is healthy enough, which is an obvious question as he has lingered available through the entire season without an apparent sniff from any team, the Lions could simply kick the tires via a workout and see if it makes sense to sign the former second-round pick. The past coaching tie to Heiden would theoretically make the fit an easier one, and that alone puts Williams on a list of possible immediate options for the Lions to cover LaPorta's absence.