Ryan Griffin is a decent safety valve tight end. The Texans drafted Griffin in the sixth round with the 201st overall pick out of Connenticut. For his first three seasons he served primarily a reserve role as a blocker and special teams contributor. In 2016 however he put up career highs with 50 receptions, and 442 yards, including an eight reception for 85 yard performance against the Jaguars. The Lions have embarked on a quest to find a viable second tight end for Jim Bob Cooter’s offense, and they should consider Ryan Griffin.
What does Ryan Griffin Bring to The Table?
Griffin served in exactly the role that the Lions would need him to fulfill. He was the second tight end, with C.J. Fiedorowicz serving as the primary tight end receiving threat. Griffin runs decent routes, and at 6’6″ he has a large catch radius. Griffin pairs those traits with soft hands and smart play. He lacks breakaway speed, with his time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day having been 4.81 seconds. Griffin can block, but he will never be called a high-end athlete. He would be an excellent addition in the running game, who would also contribute in important third down situations.
Why might Ryan Griffin be Available?
Griffin’s receiving numbers were more by default than by any great talent. The Texans wide receivers failed to develop chemistry with any of their quarterbacks. The terrible quarterback situation in Houston led to an incredible number of check downs. This is a deep draft at the position, and Griffin’s talent is replaceable. Griffin is a useful player but his gifts are not rare. The Texans have a mere $25 million in cap space, and have A.J. Bouye to re-sign.
The Bottom Line for Ryan Griffin
He’s going to be a fairly cheap option to fill a secondary tight end role for someone. Griffin put up decent catch numbers, but his yards per reception tell his story as a receiver. He’s never going to be a true number one tight end, but he is a solid number two. He would fill the Lions’ role without precluding the signing of another wide receiver. It is always possible that he will get a starter deal somewhere, but a salary over $3 million would be shocking to me. For that price or less, the impact Ryan Griffin could have on the Lions’ offense would be a good value.