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The Detroit Lions will have a couple of interesting positional battles when training camp begins at the end of July.
Among them will be determining who emerges as the third tight end on the depth chart, behind T.J. Hockenson and veteran Darren Fells.
It is expected that Detroit will deploy a passing attack that heavily features the tight end. Also, given that new Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will look to rush the football effectively, the ability to both run and pass block will be imperative for the tight ends on roster.
Alize Mack, Charlie Taumoepeau, Brock Wright, Hunter Thedford and Jake Hausmann will be in competition to catch the attention of Detroit tight ends coach Ben Johnson, Lynn and Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
Detroit Lions tight end Alize Mack
Detroit Lions tight end Alize Mack
© Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions tight end Hunter Bryant
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Hunter Bryant is still on the roster, despite being placed on waivers earlier this offseason with an injury designation. Until he proves he can remain healthy, he will be viewed as being on the outside-looking-in.
“Each one of those guys brings something different to the table, skill set-wise,” Johnson told reporters. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how they complement each other, because it’s a little bit of a puzzle how we put that room together. We don’t want three pass-catching tight ends. We don’t want three run-blocking tight ends. We want the best mix that makes us the biggest threat here on offense.”
It is widely believed that Alize Mack, out of Notre Dame, has the inside track to earn the position, based on his previous relationship with Campbell.
While with the New Orleans Saints, Detroit’s new head coach was included in the pre-draft evaluation of Mack (in 2019). The Saints ended up selecting Mack in the seventh round.
Ex-Buckeyes tight end Jake Hausmann played under Urban Meyer, but was not featured heavily in the passing attack.
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Thedford stands at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, and would provide Jared Goff with a massive option in the passing game, if he ends up earning the nod.
At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, Taumoepeau can create some mismatches for the Lions’ offense.
He participated in training camp in 2020 with the Dallas Cowboys, after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent.
Meanwhile, Wright, an undrafted free agent, made plays during minicamp, and caught the attention of the coaching staff.
Campbell was a former tight ends coach, and played the position in the league. So, it figures that the winner of the battle will be in a prime position to aid the offense right away.
Veterans report for training camp at the Lions’ Allen Park practice facility July 27.