One of the more interesting storylines to watch during Detroit Lions training camp this year will be what happens at tight end. With the Lions drafting Michael Williams and signing Joseph Fauria and Matt Veldman, there is a good deal of talent for a limited amount of spots.
Specifically, I will be interested in seeing just how many tight ends the Lions decide to keep on their 53-man roster. Typically, the Lions roll with three tight ends, but it may be worthwhile to keep four this year if a player like Fauria steps it up as a worthwhile pass catcher.
It's fair to assume that Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler aren't going anywhere, and it's not like Williams and Fauria are competing for the same role. As former Lions tight end and current assistant director of pro personnel Charlie Sanders recently said during an alumni roundtable for the team's official site, each tight end "brings a different something."
What this could ultimately come down to is if the Lions decide that they have the luxury of keeping a fourth tight end who will primarily be a pass catcher. We already know what kind of role Pettigrew and Scheffler will have in the offense, and it's a pretty good bet that the H-back role will go to Williams based on what Sanders said.
"To me, the one that fits what we were doing last year more than all of them is Williams," Sanders said. "To do what Riley (Reiff) did. That fits us."
Unless the Lions surprisingly decide to move one of their top two tight ends, chances are the depth chart will read as follows: Pettigrew, Scheffler and Williams. If Fauria or Veldman want to crack the 53-man roster and be included as the team's fourth tight end, they will have to have an extremely impressive training camp and preseason. What's more, they will have to excel in a specific role or package to convince the coaches that the Lions need four tight ends this year.