Lions sign veteran tight end Sean McKeon before next phase of OTAs

The Lions have added another veteran tight end before the next phase of OTAs.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have their next phase of OTAs next week, but they've tweaked their 90-man roster ahead of that. On Thursday morning, the team announced they've signed tight end Sean McKeon. Undrafted rookie tight end Isaac Rex was waived in the corresponding move.

McKeon went undrafted out of the University of Michigan in 2020, signing with the Dallas Cowboys. He made their roster, and played in 14 games as a backup tight end with one start as a rookie. He stuck with the Cowboys from there, playing in a total of 45 games over the last four seasons.

McKeon has six career receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown, as he has primarily been used as a blocker and a special teamer. According to Pro Football Focus, he has played 570 special teams snaps and 428 offensive snaps in his career.

In 2022 and 2023 PFF gave him above average pass blocking grades (81.0 and 79.2 respectively). albeit over very small sample sizes of pass blocking snaps. He posted a 72.2 PFF grade for his work in all four phases of special teams as rookie in 2020, with special teams grades of at least 62.5 in each of the subsequent three seasons.

Could Sean McKeon make the Lions' roster?

McKeon becomes the sixth tight end on the Lions' offseason roster, behind Sam LaPorta, Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra, James Mitchell and the also recently added Parker Hesse. So that naturally makes it an uphill climb for him to crack the roster. But Zylstra and Mitchell are incumbents vulnerable to being usurped. The NFL's new kickoff rules also stand to put value on capable blockers in the return game, so McKeon could gain an edge there.

It wouldn't be shocking if McKeon ultimately made the Lions' final 53-man roster as the TE3 or TE4. His signing isn't that notable on its own, but the Lions have questions beyond LaPorta and Wright on the tight end depth chart and now there's extra competition.

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