Returning from last season: Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, Will Heller, Nathan Overbay
New to the team: Alex Gottlieb, Austin Wells
Out of all the positions on the Detroit Lions roster, tight end may have the least amount of intrigue surrounding it. This is because the same three tight ends who made the 53-man roster in 2010 and 2011 are expected to make the team this year.
Brandon Pettigrew continued to improve as a player in 2011 and is back as the Lions' top tight end, and Tony Scheffler, who had six touchdowns in 2011, is right behind him. The Lions also have Will Heller back in 2012. They did release him at one point this offseason to clear some cap space, but they brought him back less than two weeks later. He is a solid third option at tight end and also can play some fullback, so he should stick around for the 2012 season.
Behind the top three, the Lions have Nathan Overbay, Alex Gottlieb and Austin Wells. Overbay spent part of 2011 on the practice squad, whereas Gottlieb and Wells were just signed a few months ago as undrafted free agents. These three players will really be competing for a spot on the practice squad and the chance to make the 53-man roster if one of the top three TEs happens to suffer an injury.
Need going forward?
The Lions are set at tight end. If one of their top players were to go down with a significant injury, I could see them looking to a free agent for extra depth. Assuming everybody stays healthy, though, there shouldn't be any changes at the top of the depth chart at this position.