Stay or Go: Tight End Depth Nonexistent Behind Ebron

Detroit Has One Good Tight End – It’s Time To Find Some Help

Welcome to another edition of “Stay or Go”, where I look at each position on the Lions roster, determine if they should stay or go and give a list of possible replacements. Last edition I looked at the wide receiver position, now it is time to look at the tight end spot where Detroit has only one solid player in the group.

Behind Eric Ebron, Detroit struggled to find a solid number two tight end. Brandon Pettigrew was that guy, but he started the year on PUP, got off of it and was released by the team in shocking fashion. Tim Wright, the third string last season, tore his ACL back in June and missed the entire season, leaving the organization to find players in free agency to fill the voids and most didn’t work out.

Eric Ebron

We get it. Eric Ebron wasn’t the 10th best pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Detroit should have gone elsewhere, but it is the decision that was made and while Ebron isn’t leading the tight ends in the NFL in yards or touchdowns, he has proven himself as the starter. Injuries are something to note though – Ebron hasn’t played a full season in the NFL due to small nagging injuries. This year was his best so far, getting 711 yards on 61 catches and one touchdown. Ebron is our starter and a pretty good one at that. No reason to let him leave.

Decision: Stay

Clay Harbor

Harbor came onto the team a quarter of the season in with Ebron dealing with injuries. Harbor only got three catches for 19 yards in the 12 games he played in Detroit. He is more of a blocking tight end and when comparing him to the other blocking tight ends, he just isn’t that good.

Decision: Go

Matthew Mulligan

Here is the better blocker. Mulligan only played in eight games and got one catch for eight yards, but his performance was more in the blocking schemes. He did well when asked, but he could take a back seat in 2017. While he should still be on the team, expect him to get demoted to third string and only come in to block.

Decision: Stay

Cole Wick

Two catches for 18 yards. That is all the training camp hype could get Cole Wick. He was put on IR with a knee injury early in the season and never came back. Cole Wick isn’t what he was in training camp compared to the preseason and regular season.

Decision: Go

Tim Wright

Wright is the biggest question mark out of the bunch. He missed seven games in 2015 and tore his ACL in June. Wright had nine catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns in 2015, not bad for a third string tight end who played in limited action. Wright would be a good player to bring back, but the free agent class and tight end draft class has some better players that could be cheaper and better than Wright.

Decision: Go

Possible Replacements

  • Vernon Davis
  • Larry Donnell
  • Jacob Tamme
  • Mychal Rivera
  • Gerald Everett, South Alabama
  • Jake Butt, Michigan
  • Eric Saubert, Drake
  • Josiah Price, Michigan State

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp

Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.