The Detroit Lions used their second first-round pick in 2009 to select tight end Brandon Pettigrew. They went with Pettigrew for two main reasons: 1) to give Matthew Stafford a big-time target at TE; and 2) to give the running game an excellent blocker.
During his rookie season, Pettigrew showed some flashes of potential, but a torn ACL on Thanksgiving ended his year early. There were concerns about whether or not he would be ready to go in 2010 because of the injury, but thankfully those concerns were never realized.
Pettigrew worked hard all offseason to get ready for the 2010 season, and when he took the field it looked like no injury had ever happened. He started in all 16 games and recorded 71 catches for 722 yards and four touchdowns. He set a Lions single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end, breaking the mark held by Hall of Famer Charlie Sanders.
The reason Pettigrew is only No. 9 on this list is because he still can improve his game quite a bit by cutting down on the amount of drops. If Pettigrew does that, his potential will be through the roof. Already he has shown what a weapon he can be for the Lions, and imagine how sick his numbers could be if he actually gets to catch passes from a healthy Matthew Stafford all season and limits his drops. I fully expect Pettigrew to be a guy that ends up climbing this list in the years to come.
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