Our latest series on the Detroit Lions roster continues with a comparison of the tight end position from 2014 to 2015. Did the Lions improve at tight end? Let's take a look.
2014 TEs: Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, Joseph Fauria, Kellen Davis
2015 TEs: Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, Joseph Fauria, Jordan Thompson, Casey Pierce
Much like quarterback, not much has changed at tight end from a personnel standpoint. Kellen Davis is now a member of the New York Jets after not being re-signed, and Jordan Thompson is back on the active roster for the time being after making a brief appearance last season. Also, the Lions added undrafted free agent Casey Pierce, but the three tight ends expected to make the 53-man roster are the same ones from last season.
Did they improve?
Since nothing major changed personnel-wise, this is a tough position to judge based on the traditional view of improving the roster. Then again, as long as Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron and Joseph Fauria are actually healthy this year, the tight end position will be in a much better spot than last season. Plus, it's tough to imagine Ebron not showing some improvement this year after a rather disappointing rookie season.
What about compared to 2013?
2013 TEs: Brandon Pettigrew, Joseph Fauria, Dorin Dickerson, Matt Veldman, Michael Williams
Injuries landed Pettigrew, Dorin Dickerson and Michael Williams on injured reserve by the end of the season, but the Lions actually got pretty good production from the tight end spot in 2013. Pettigrew had 41 catches for 416 yards and two touchdowns, and he seemingly eliminated the drops issue that had plagued him for much of his career. On top of that, Fauria came out of nowhere to have seven touchdowns on only 18 catches.
In other words, the Lions' current tight ends are going to have to step their game up just to get to the level of play we saw in 2013.