With another opportunity to do so, 49ers tight end George Kittle heaped praise on Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta.
Any bias as a fellow former Iowa Hawkeyes tight end aside, but San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle praised Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta in a conversation with Scott Dochterman of The Athletic back in May.
Kittle, of course one of the best tight ends in the NFL, took anothe opportunity to praise LaPorta on the Pardon My Take podcast last month.
"LaPorta is going to be fantastic. I think Laporta’s the best tight end in the draft class. I think the Lions got a complete steal. I like the other tight ends too, but I spent two weeks training with Sam LaPorta, and the way he moves -- oh yeah, he’s got the dog in him. He’s kind of quirky, he’s kind of goofy, too. He’s going to fit in well.”"- George Kittle
Sam LaPorta should be an immediate factor in Lions offense
The minute he was drafted, LaPorta became the Lions' most-talented tight end. He delivered on that promise with strong work during OTAs, and as long as he carries that to and through training camp he should the team's No, 1 tight end going into the season.
With targets available and surely being on the field plenty, opportunity will knock rather loudly for LaPorta as things look right now. Rookie tight ends have to learn a lot, the entire offense in terms of routes, blocking, etc., and history says a big season in terms of receiving numbers is unlikely for LaPorta.
But if we know anything about offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. it's that LaPorta will be used in whatever capacity he can most effective while he hones his all-around game during his rookie season. If that's lining him up primarily out in the slot (or even out wide), with little on his plate in terms of blocking, then so be it.