Taken in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, LaPorta is a playmaker who should fit right into to the Lions’ offense and become an instant target for quarterback Jared Goff. On a team that was already explosive offensively in 2022, LaPorta should flourish in his rookie season and prove to be a steal in the draft.
Along with first-round pick, running back Jahmyr Gibbs, LaPorta bring a heightened element of excitement to a Lion’s offense featuring wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, the Iowa product has great size and an ability to attack zone coverage. Although he can work on his blocking skills, LaPorta should flourish in a Detroit offense that will feature a running game led by David Montgomery and Gibbs.
Detroit Lions get a physical, productive tight end in Sam LaPorta
As a high-volume target at Iowa, LaPorta’s physicality is what really stood out. He’s tough to take down once he hits open space and is a big-time threat in the red zone. LaPorta is coming off a final season in Iowa in which he caught 58 passes for 657 yards and 12 touchdowns. That production made him the Big Ten Tight End of the Year Award in 2022.
Will that translate to the NFL?
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When the Lions take on the Super Bowl championKansas City Chiefs Thursday night in the NFL season opener, he will get his chance. Through training camp and the preseason, he has been an impressive rookie and a player who is already receiving high accolades from Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
"“We think he can handle a lot. Mentally, he’s pretty sharp for a rookie,” Campbell said. We think this guy – he’ll be able to pick this up pretty quick as he gets reps.”"
The young tight end should turn into a reliable target for Goff. He’ll get the reps and the opportunity will be there as long as he exhibits that same level of competitiveness he showed during his college days.
It will be a tough transition, but a transition LaPorta is proving he is ready for. The coaching staff is excited, the quarterback is excited and Lions fans should be excited for this young tight end who doesn’t come with the same buzz 2019 first-round pick T.J. Hockenson came with, but he’ll prove to be a better fit and a player who will roar in his rookie season and beyond.
Prediction for 2023: Sam LaPorta will catch 45 passes for 575 yards and 8 touchdowns.