While the spotlight has been on the offensive line and the wide receivers, there’s been strong competition among the tight ends during Detroit Lions training camp too.
Veterans Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler return and each is in his final contract year.
Scheffler’s production was down in 2012 but that wasn’t entirely his fault.
Will Heller, known primarily for his blocking was not brought back.
So there was at least one opening. The Lions drafted Michael Williams (6-foot-6, 270) in the seventh round out of Alabama. His strength was blocking but he had caught a few passes too.
Then they signed undrafted 6-foot-7 rookie free agent Joe Fauria who had played many receiver positions at UCLA, but had not played tight end. He called himself an eight-h-round draft pick and was motivated as any undrafted player is - maybe more. Biggest of his height and ability to catch balls, he's a red zone threat.
So there you go.
Along the way, they signed others including Matt Veldman and Cameron Morrah who were cut on Tuesday.
So now we’re at four.
The Lions’ decision may be put on hold because Williams has a broken right hand, suffered in the win over the Patriots, that will sideline him for at least a few weeks. There’s a possibility he could be the one who will be placed on short-term injured reserve to start the season.
If he’s not, the Lions could keep four tight ends, there’s no rule that says they must keep three.
That’s my guess. Williams and Fauria both qualify for the practice squad but first they would have to clear waivers and neither one would.