4. TE James Mitchell
Behind the presumed No. 1 guy who's asserting himself as that, rookie Sam LaPorta, the Lions' tight end depth chart is (or should be) wide open as Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra, Mitchell or even Derrick Dees Jr. battle for roles and roster spots in camp. Now further removed from the torn ACL that ended his final college season early, hopes have been high for Mitchell . He showed enough in limited work as a rookie to fuel that promise.
Wright is at least penciled strongly in as the Lions' TE2 behind LaPorta. Zylstra in particular is ripe for competition, and ripe to be usurped, as the TE3. But early in camp Mitchell has reportedly been down the pecking order for reps in practice, as he tries to expand his game to be a complete player. The Lions, obviously but maybe even moresoo than other teams, want guys who can can catch and block at the position.
Mitchell is not in any danger of losing a 53-man roster spot. But it would be nice to see him start taking some noticeable steps in his development, especially given that he's probably the second-most rawly talented tight end the Lions have. Preseason games should be a showcase opportunity for him, but turning around the early camp narrative is just as important.
Update: Sunday morning, Dan Campbell passed along positive developments with Mitchell, which seem to go agains him operating a the No. 4 tight end for a spell. Still, the young tight end needs to keep that momentum going.