As the offseason winds down, we're going to project each position on the Detroit Lions depth chart and also take a look at some training camp battles. Next up is the tight end position.
Starters: Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew | Top backup: Joseph Fauria
It's unclear right now just how often the Lions will play with two tight ends on the field at the same time. However, it seems like a pretty good bet that Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew will both basically end up being starters when you look at their snap totals at the end of the season. Pettigrew is expected to continue serving in the more traditional tight end role, while Ebron should get a lot of playing time all over the field. They are both technically tight ends, but their roles in the offense are expected to be different.
The top backup at tight end is Joseph Fauria, who is also the Lions' special weapon in red zone situations. Fauria showed improvement as a blocker over the course of last season, and he's got the ability to line up all over the field as well. This should allow him to fill in for both Pettigrew and Ebron.
Other players: Jordan Thompson, Jacob Maxwell
With Michael Williams moving to offensive tackle, the Lions' only other tight ends are Jordan Thompson and Jacob Maxwell. Neither player will likely be a factor for the 53-man roster unless there's an injury, which leads me to perhaps the most, well, uninteresting camp battle on the entire team...
Camp battle to watch: Jordan Thompson vs. Jacob Maxwell (for the practice squad)
With the players and roles all pretty much set at the tight end position, Thompson and Maxwell will likely be competing for a chance to simply make the practice squad. We obviously don't know if the Lions will even keep a tight end on their practice squad, but if they do, it'll be a battle between Thompson and Maxwell for that spot.