Sam LaPorta: Welcome Difference Maker in DET
Sam LaPorta is off to a fast start with the Detroit Lions, logging 25 receptions over his first five games. Only Keith Jackson (29) and Jordan Reed (26) had more through five contests. It is usually expected of rookie tight ends to go through a learning curve, but LaPorta has thus far looked like a veteran playmaker. The Iowa product has 25 receptions, 289 yards, and three touchdowns on the season. He had a fantastic Week 5, hauling in three passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-24 clobbering of the Carolina Panthers.
Sam LaPorta is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards while tied for the most touchdown receptions with three. LaPorta trails just superstar wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown in yards and receptions. The second-round pick has played 81% of the offensive snaps this season. He still has tomorrow to log some activity at practice. The 22-year-old is considered questionable for Sunday’s tilt.
Lions Injury Updates
If Sam LaPorta is out, Brock Wright is next in line for the tight end position. Wright has five receptions for 33 yards this season. However, Wright stepped in for T.J. Hockenson last season as the latter got traded to the Minnesota Vikings after seven games. Wright posted 18 receptions, 216 yards, and four scores in 2022. Tight end James Mitchell is also on the team but has yet to acquire a target. Mitchell had 11 receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown last season.
The Detroit Lions also have injuries to Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. St. Brown remains limited at practice but would significantly boost the Lions after missing last Sunday with an abdomen injury.
Meanwhile, Gibbs joined LaPorta as a DNP on Thursday. Brown had 1,161 receiving yards last season, while Gibbs was a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft.