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Lions draft TE Sam LaPorta with No. 34 pick

Iowa TE Sam LaPorta goes to the Lions with the No. 34 pick in the 2023 draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 TransPerfect Music City Bowl Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have drafted Iowa TE Sam LaPorta with the No. 34 overall pick in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Scouting Report

LaPorta enters the draft as a reliable and athletic pass-catcher at the tight end position. However, he’s on the smaller side while checking in at 6-3 and 245 pounds. Still, his speed and raw ability presents mismatches when covered by linebackers, and that’s where LaPorta can be a difference-maker.

He needs to develop his run blocking skills a little more, but LaPorta makes for a strong addition to the receiving game for any team needing help in that department.

Career statistics

LaPorta played in 45 total games across four seasons with the Iowa Hawkeyes. His most productive years were as a junior and senior in 2021 and 2022 respectively. LaPorta combined for 106 total catches with 1,262 receiving yards and four touchdowns in those seasons. That was despite playing for an otherwise unproductive Hawkeye offense.

How can Sam LaPorta impact the Lions in 2023?

With Michael Mayer still on the board, the Lions chose to go with LaPorta. Mayer is considered more of a blocking tight end, which tells me that Detroit is hoping to utilize LaPorta in the passing game. TJ Hockenson now plays for the Minnesota Vikings, and LaPorta will likely fill that role. If he can adjust to the NFL quickly, he should be a beneficial piece to the Detroit offense.