Detroit Lions player will compete for his spot this summer because the tight end room of the Lions was greatly upgraded…

By selecting Sam LaPorta with a high second-round draft pick last season—who ended up being a breakthrough star—the Detroit Lions significantly improved their tight end room.

Veteran Lions TE Likely Fighting for His Job This Summer: Analyst

As a result of LaPorta’s signing and the contract extension for fellow tight end Brock Wright, one expert projects that James Mitchell will be outside the roster bubble come summertime.

“After battling injuries during his two seasons with the Lions, Mitchell’s training camp will be crucial,” stated Christian Booher of’s All Lions.

“Detroit decided to keep Brock Wright after he received an offer sheet from the 49ers, and they struck gold with their selection of Sam LaPorta last year.”

James Mitchell’s Roster Competition Will Increase

Booher mentioned that the veteran tight end group of the Lions was bolstered by the signings of Sean McKeon and Parker Hesse this offseason. He also mentioned that both players are more versatile because of their special teams expertise.

In his two seasons in Detroit, Mitchell has only made 13 receptions for 141 yards and one score, suggesting that he has not contributed significantly on offence.

He did see some action on special teams, participating in 38% of plays in 2022 and 35% of snaps in the previous campaign.

With one more returning player in the mix, Booher said it might come down to a fight for the third and final tight end place.

“Shane Zylstra is also back after missing the majority of the previous campaign due to an injury sustained during training camp. Although LaPorta and Wright seem to be in the lead, Booher said that there ought to be competition for the third tight end spot.

Credibility vote for Brock Wright

By signing Zylstra to a one-year contract and applying the right of first refusal RFA tag to Wright, the Lions have already demonstrated their commitment to two tight ends this offseason.

Wright’s tender is a solid recommendation, as Jeff Risdon of USA Today’s Lions Wire pointed out, and it puts him in position to make the final squad for the upcoming year.

Risdon noted, “It’s hard to see another team paying Wright $3 million for one season.” The 25-year-old’s season was cut short by a fractured arm, during which he caught 13 passes for 91 yards.

Wright joined the Lions as an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame and has spent the last three seasons with Detroit, where he has caught 43 passes for 424 yards and seven touchdowns.

LaPorta, who broke records for rookie tight end receptions both for the team and the league, is anticipated to receive the majority of the team’s tight end targets. LaPorta caught 86 passes for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns before the end of the season.

Legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski gave the rookie high marks, pointing out that he had an influence on both the passing and rushing games.

For rookie tight ends, “Sam LaPorta is definitely changing the game a little bit,” Gronkowski said to FOX Sports. “To contribute right immediately, especially at tight end, you have to be a savvy player because you have to understand both the run and pass games.

He attended the University of Iowa, which has an excellent system.

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