The second they took him in April's draft, Sam LaPorta became the best tight end on the Detroit Lions' roster. He has done nothing but show it since, and seemingly on a weekly basis he's setting some kind of record mark for rookie tight ends.
Dan helps me with all the details that go unnoticed by the average viewer, and they make all the difference when playing a position like tight end. Dan's great for me. There's several things in terms of technique with first steps, hand placement, all that sort of stuff...."
Coming from the "Tight End U" that is Iowa gave him a nice base to work from, but LaPorta was clearly ready for whatever came his way, starting in rookie minicamp all the way into the season now.
Sam LaPorta goes further into reasons for his early success
LaPorta sat down with Lions' radio play-by-play man Dan Miller of Fox 2 Detroit on Thursday
"They [the Lions] didn’t really allow me to be a rookie,” LaPorta said. “Right away, they kinda just threw me into the fire, which is a good thing for the team and for my own individual performance.”
LaPorta has played at least an 82 percent snap share is six of eight games so far this season, and one of the two exceptions was the blowout loss to the Ravens in Week 7.
The sentiment about how the Lions can get better after the bye week has been voiced far and wide among coaches and players. In terms of acknowledging his own early success and moving forward, LaPorta is on the same wavelength.
"In football, it’s always the next play. If you get too hung up on your performances — your good or your bad — it really just affects how you play going into the future,” “It’s cool to acknowledge those things, those statistics, but you kind of have to move on quickly.”
LaPorta has been one of the most productive tight ends in the league so far. But finishing the season that way is clearly what he's got his eye on.