"Did the Lions improve?" is our latest series analyzing the Detroit Lions' roster in comparison to their 7-9 2015 season. Next up, we look at the tight end position.
2015 TEs: Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, Tim Wright, Bear Pascoe
2016 TEs: Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, Matthew Mulligan, Adam Fuehne, Cole Wick
The tight end position is very much a position still in flux. With Brandon Pettigrew still on the mend from a torn ACL, and even Eric Ebron battling an unknown injury, the Lions could make a few changes to the roster before training camp begins. Matthew Mulligan was added just before the draft to give the Lions an additional blocking tight end option.
Did they improve?
The Lions struggled at the tight end position last season. The trade for Tim Wright didn't work as well as the team hoped and Detroit ended up releasing him last week. When injuries began to mount up the Lions added Bear Pascoe, but he was not re-signed this offseason.
Surprisingly, the team has not made many changes to the position this offseason. Pettigrew remains a big question mark with a significant injury and a huge price tag to go along with it. If he heals up quickly, he could still be a roster cut to save cap space. Eric Ebron is expected to make a big jump in production in the offense, but that is still theoretical at this point.
Outside of the top two tight ends, the Lions don't have much. Mulligan was once a great blocker, but at 31-years-old, his best days are behind him. Adam Fuehne and Cole Wick are both undrafted rookies who suddenly have a real path to making the final roster, but their talent is still very much in question.
While the Lions' tight ends weren't that impressive last year, Detroit hasn't done much of anything to improve the position in the offseason.
What about compared to 2014?
2014 TEs: Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, Joseph Fauria, Kellen Davis
In 2014, no Lions tight end had more than 248 receiving yards (Ebron). Pettigrew and Fauria combined for just 18 catches, and while the running game was more respectable, it was still a pretty poor unit. The Lions may be in better shape than then, but still not by much.