The Detroit Lions have 28 players from their 2022 roster set to become free agents in 2023 (18 unrestricted, 10 restricted), and we are covering them all throughout the month of February.
If you missed any of the previous articles, you can check them out here:
Unrestricted free agents: WR DJ Chark, RB Jamaal Williams, RB Justin Jackson, QB Nate Sudfeld, IOL Evan Brown, OT Dan Skipper, NT Isaiah Buggs, EDGE John Cominsky, EDGE Austin Bryant, LB Alex Anzalone, LB Josh Woods, LB Chris Board, CB Will Harris, CB Mike Hughes, CB Amari Oruwariye, SAF DeShon Elliott, SAF C.J. Moore, and K Michael Badgley
Expectations heading into 2022
The expectations for Brock Wright were very low going into the 2022 season. So low that Wright spent the entire training camp on our bubble watch. After a while it was clear he was going to make the roster, but with T.J. Hockenson around, much action wasn’t expected for the second-year man who came in undrafted the year before. On top of that, the Lions drafted James Mitchell. He was expected to get some serious looks alongside Hockenson when he returned from his ACL injury. There was good reason to believe that there was a chance Wright would end up on the practice squad—or solely special teams duty—at some point.
Actual role in 2022
17 games (10 starts): 18 catches, 216 yards, 4 TDs
PFF grade: 54.2 (58th out of 73 qualifying TEs)
In the early going of the season, Wright’s production was exactly as expected. While Hockenson was around, Wright only racked up six catches for 88 yards. Once the Lions sent Hockenson to the Vikings, Wright’s production got a little bigger. He caught 12 passes for 128 yards and four touchdowns down the stretch of the 2022 season. The big highlight, of course, was his big 51-yard touchdown against the Jets. That touchdown tput the Lions in the lead late and helped them continue their winning ways.
Wright really showed what he could do in that moment and he continued to do so when he got his shots. The PFF grade really doesn’t do him any justice, but he did show real improvement in the back half of the season, especially in the pass blocking department. Wright posted pass blocking grades of 74 or higher in five of the season’s final eight games, including each of the final four games.
Outlook for 2023
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
There’s definitely expectations that Wright will be back on the Lions roster in 2023. What happens from there seems pretty unknown and depends on a lot. When it comes to the receiving game, the Lions didn’t use their tight ends very much, and when they did, they used the whole gang. Will they do that again in 2023? Or will the Lions search for a more definitive answer at tight end in the draft or free agency?
Even if they don’t, James Mitchell still has to have the edge over every tight end on the roster since the Lions spent a draft pick on him last April. If not for his ACL injury, he almost certainly would’ve gone several rounds higher than he did (fifth). There’s reason to believe the Lions have high expectations for him in 2023.
So the outlook for now is basically that Wright will have a job in Detroit and maybe even have an expanded role, but we have a while to go before we know how big that role will be.
Should the Lions re-sign Brock Wright?
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