The Detroit Lions currently have five tight ends on their active roster in T.J. Hockenson, Jesse James, Isaac Nauta, Hunter Bryant and Matt Sokol. Last year, the Lions kept just three tight ends when establishing their 53-man roster. But it’s possible that the Lions could keep four this year, especially if Hunter Bryant—one of the biggest UDFA targets in the entire draft—can make an impact during training camp.
If the Lions do decide to keep four tight ends this year, then I think it means that someone like Nick Bawden fails to make the roster and perhaps Nauta takes his place as an H-back. It could also spell the end of Ty Johnson’s tenure in Detroit, or maybe the Lions decide that four wide receivers is enough.
Which leads us to today’s Question of the Day:
How many tight ends will the Lions keep on the final roster this year?
My answer: I personally believe that they will keep four as long as Hunter Bryant shows us why many were surprised that he went undrafted. The Lions didn’t get much production out of the tight end position at all last year, and Bryant’s bread and butter is getting involved in the passing game. I also think that the Lions won’t be able to rid themselves of Jesse James quite yet, but I’m unconvinced that he will have much of an impact in his second year, so someone like Nauta or Bryant could take some snaps away from him.
With the team keeping four tight ends, the odd man out to me is Nick Bawden, who didn’t perform well as a lead blocker last year and should be very expendable, especially to someone like Nauta who can fill in for Bawden and play tight end.