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Detroit Lions roster review: Tight end

A look back at how the Detroit Lions' tight ends performed in 2012.

Thearon W. Henderson

As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2012. Next up is our look at the Detroit Lions' tight ends.

Brandon Pettigrew - 14 games (11 starts) | 59 receptions, 567 yards, 3 TD | 2 lost fumbles

As has been the case in the past, Pettigrew had a very up-and-down season in 2012. While he showed off his athleticism by making ridiculous catches at times, far too often he disappointed by dropping or fumbling the ball. Even worse, these drops and fumbles often came at a crucial point in the game for the Lions. There's no doubt that Pettigrew has the potential to be a great tight end, but he has to be more consistent in order to prove that he is anything other than average. Quite frankly, he has to stop dropping passes, as this has been an issue throughout his career, and it especially plagued him in 2012.

Tony Scheffler - 15 games (4 starts) | 42 receptions, 504 yards, 1 TD | 0 lost fumbles

Scheffler had a decent season if you don't take touchdowns into account. When it came to finding the end zone, 2012 was pretty disappointing, although I'm not quite sure how much of that is actually on him. He would show up seemingly three or four times a game with a ridiculous catch mixed in and then disappear from the game plan for the most part. While he only had 14 fewer targets than Pettigrew on the season, Scheffler averaged 1.5 fewer targets per game. I would have liked to see him get more involved, because I think he was more reliable than Pettigrew in 2012. Especially in the red zone, it would have been nice to see the Lions look Scheffler's way more than they did.

Will Heller - 16 games (5 starts) | 17 receptions, 150 yards, 1 TD | 0 lost fumbles

Heller isn't known for putting up big receiving numbers, as evidenced by him having only 17 catches in 2012. He is a solid third tight end, though. He is capable of coming in to block at tight end or in the backfield, and when he is actually targeted, he usually catches the ball. (His 17 catches in 2012 came on 23 targets.) He fits his role perfectly, and based on his play in 2012, you could probably make an argument that he deserves a chance to play more in the future.

Previously: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver

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