The Detroit Lions continue their search for Eric Ebron’s replacement. A few days after bringing in veteran tight end Brent Celek, it appears the Lions will be meeting with former Seahawks tight end Luke Willson, as first reported by NFL Canada and later corroborated by Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times:
Hearing Luke Willson's Jacksonville trip is over and he will visit the Lions tomorrow. Detroit a hop, skip and jump from his hometown of Lasalle, Ontario so could be a natural fit.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) March 16, 2018
Willson, 28, has spent most of his career as the No. 2 tight end in Seattle. In five seasons with the Seahawks, he has 89 receptions for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns. His best season came in 2014, when he pulled in 22 catches for 362 yards and three touchdowns.
If you’re looking for someone who is athletic as Ebron, Willson is probably as close as you’re going to find on the free agency market:
The Seahawks used Willson in a variety of roles, including H-Back, which is essentially a glorified fullback in some running formations. Our friends at Field Gulls did extensive work breaking down Willson’s blocking abilities here and here. Overall, while his technique can be sloppy, he’s at least capable of being put out there as a blocker, while also being a decent receiving threat.
Willson may have some extra incentive to sign with the Lions. The veteran tight end grew up in LaSalle, Ontario—just minutes away from downtown Detroit. And he grew up a Lions fan:
W!!! I can come clean now: I grew up a Lions fan, even dressed as Barry Sanders for Halloween. pic.twitter.com/MZkLT168hw— Luke Willson (@LWillson_82) January 8, 2017
We’ll see if the Lions can use this to their advantage and lock up the veteran tight end to fill their big roster vacancy.