Sam LaPorta: Getting to Know the Detroit Lions No. 34 Pick

With the 34th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected Tight End Sam LaPorta. played all four years of his college career at Iowa.

Sam LaPorta Detroit Lions

Key Points:

  • The Detroit Lions selected Tight End Sam LaPorta with the 34th overall pick.
  • LaPorta played four seasons with Iowa University.

Sam LaPorta: Getting to Know the Detroit Lions No. 34 Pick

Laporta played in 12 games for the Hawkeyes last season, he hauled in 58 passes for 657 yards and one touchdown. Laporta played in 40 games for Iowa in his career catching a total of 153 passes for 1,786 yards and five touchdowns.

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Scouting Report

Via Dane Brugler:

STRENGTHS: Adequate frame and build for the position … displays agile footwork and short-area quickness at the top of routes … fluid athlete with excellent sink/redirect to plant and snap on pivot or square routes … large, accepting hands … above-average body control adjusting to throws … showed improved RAC ability as a senior (only FBS tight end with 20-plus forced missed tackles in 2022) … comfortable working the seam or middle of the field … physical hands to escape contact
at the line … penalized only once in his career (touchdown celebration in 2021) … voted a senior captain and NFL scouts praise his character (LaPorta told NFL scouts he returned for his senior season at Iowa because it was important for him to be a captain) … his coaches say his on-field production and impact are a “direct reflection” of the work he puts in (NFL scout: “Sam isn’t quite (Noah) Fant or (T.J.) Hockenson, but he’s tougher than both of them. … He competes like (George) Kittle.”) … strong college production and became the first tight end in school history to lead the team in receptions and receiving yards in back-to-back seasons.

WEAKNESSES: Ordinary length and long speed for the position … mixed results as a blocker … head ducker as a lead blocker and looks to slam into contact instead of
latching and controlling … must improve his angles as a run/pass blocker … doesn’t have a secondary gear to maintain separation from pursuit … inconsistent finishing
skills when asked to climb the ladder or win 50-50 balls … focus drops are a part of his game … finished his career with a dismal 14-to-5 drop-to-touchdown ratio …
suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee as a senior (November 2022) and missed one game but worked his way back for the bowl game.

Bottom Line

The Lions add another new toy for Jared Goff and it is a tight end from a college that produces solid tight ends. LaPorta will be a great player for this offense and after last year could be a solid red zone threat for the Lions entering the 2023 season. The Lions also now have found a replacement after trading away T.J. Hockenson last year to Minnesota.

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