The Detroit Lions checked off another box with the 34th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, selecting TE Sam LaPorta out of Iowa.
Detroit dips back into the Iowa pipeline after drafting LB Jack Campbell 18th overall in the first round.
LaPorta goes ahead of the likes of Michael Mayer and Darnell Washington. However, as the theme has seemed to be so far, Holmes is just taking his guys regardless of what you think.
The Iowa tight end measures in at 6’3″ and 245 lbs. According to Chad Reuter, “LaPorta led Iowa in receiving in 2022 (58-657-11.3, one TD, 12 games) and won the Big Ten Tight End of the Year Award. He set the school record for tight ends with 153 career receptions.”
He joins an underutilized tight end group in Detroit consisting of Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra, and James Mitchell. LaPorta will be another playmaker from day one, giving Jared Goff yet another weapon on offense.
Some of LaPorta’s other strengths include creating leverage, tough to tackle, footwork, and a high-volume of targets from various alignments. Weaknesses include lack of contested catch success, inconsistent accuracy and angles, and needing to get his hands more catch-ready.
Detroit Lions fans are all too familiar with Iowa tight ends, but they come with a track record. T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, and George Kittle have all had success at the pro level. LaPorta looks to follow in their footsteps.
The Lions are scheduled for two more second-round picks, 48th and 55th overall.
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