The Detroit Lions let former first round pick Eric Ebron walk during the offseason. They did very little to replace him in free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft. It seemed that the answer to the position would be either the development of 2017 pick Michael Roberts or the breakout of recent free agent addition Luke Willson.
Thus far, no one has really separated themselves from the pack, and the Lions seem content to minimize the use of their tight ends in the passing game.
Presumed starter Luke Willson had one reception for three yards.
2017 draft pick Michael Roberts had one reception for sixteen yards.
Hakeem Valles had two receptions for five yards.
Marcus Lucas had one reception for five yards.
None of that really stands out on the stat sheet. As we know, the stat sheet doesn’t mean much in preseason, but it certainly appears that the Detroit Lions do not seem committed to using their tight ends extensively in the passing game.
Between the lack of investment in the offseason and the lack of targeting thus far in preseason, there is little to indicate that the Detroit Lions are going to feature the tight end position heavily in their regular season offense.
This isn’t an indictment of their talent or saying anything about their ability. It is simply a look at how the Detroit Lions are running their offense early in preseason. This could all change at any moment but, right now, there is nothing to indicate that the Lions will distribute the ball beyond their primary pass catchers.