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Thursday open thread: What kind of production will Lions get from their TEs in 2018?

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Can the Lions’ new set of TEs match the production of the past few years?

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images

When comparing the Detroit Lions’ 2017 roster with the way it currently stands now, tight end sticks out as one of the few positions we may able to definitively say Detroit got a little worse.

Though Eric Ebron’s play was inconsistent for the four years he spent with the Lions, every year but his rookie year produced more yardage than the best season for anyone currently on the Lions’ roster. Luke Willson’s best statistical season was a 22-catch, 362-yard season four years ago. Levine Toilolo’s career high in receiving yards is just 264 yards. Michael Roberts has just four career catches.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

What kind of receiving production will the Detroit Lions get from their tight ends in 2018?

My answer: I think it’s fair to state that one of these tight ends (maybe all of them) will hit career-highs this season. While these players aren’t likely as physically talented as Ebron, they’ve also never truly had the opportunity that Ebron had in Detroit.

None of these players have ever been the No. 1 tight end on their respective teams in the past, and, as of now, it looks like Luke Willson is the most likely to take over that role for the Lions. Though Willson proudly boasted about his versatility earlier in the week, his speed and athleticism make him the most logical choice to be the team’s best tight end receiving threat this season.

But with a new offense that will be more focused on the running game, and a receiving corps that may call for more targets, I think Detroit’s reliance on a seam-splitting tight end is going to wane this year. Without a guy like Ebron, the Lions’ offense will be forced to adapt, and the tight end position will undoubtedly change. Guys like Willson, Toilolo, and Roberts will be expected to block more in the running game to keep defenses on their toes.

All of that is to say that I don’t think we’re going to see Ebron-like numbers out of the tight end position anymore. Willson may have a career year in Detroit, but it won’t be to the likes of a 600 or 700-yard season, like Ebron was capable of. Instead, expect Willson to be near the 450-yard mark, with Roberts maybe adding another 200 or so.

Your turn.

Poll

How many yards will the Lions’ leading TE receiver have in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    100-200 yards
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    201-300 yards
    (21 votes)
  • 17%
    301-400 yards
    (148 votes)
  • 29%
    401-500 yards
    (244 votes)
  • 28%
    501-600 yards
    (242 votes)
  • 12%
    601-700 yards
    (102 votes)
  • 4%
    701-800 yards
    (41 votes)
  • 4%
    801+ yards
    (34 votes)
835 votes total Vote Now