DETROIT – The Detroit Lions have selected Iowa Hawkeyes tight end Sam LaPorta with the No. 34 pick in the second round of the NFL draft.
LaPorta caught 58 receptions for 657 yards and one touchdown during his final season as a collegiate athlete.
The 6′4″ 249-pound stud was named to the All-Big Ten team by coaches and media in 2022. He was also named the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year, becoming the second Hawkeye player to win the award since former Lions athlete T.J. Hockenson in 2018.
The Lions have two more selections in the second round: No. 48 and No. 55.
General manager Brad Holmes made waves across the league in Thursday’s first round when he traded the No. 6 overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals. In exchange, the Lions received the No. 12 pick, the No. 34 pick, and a fifth-round pick. They also gave Arizona their third-round pick, No. 81 overall, in the deal.
Detroit shocked everybody by drafting Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12, and then reached for the best linebacker in the draft, Jack Campbell, at No. 18.
As unconventional as it is to take a running back and a linebacker in the first round, Holmes has earned the benefit of the doubt. His top two picks in 2021 and 2022, Penei Sewell and Aidan Hutchinson have already developed into franchise players, and he also unearthed gems in the later rounds, such as Alim McNeill, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kerby Joseph, Malcolm Rodriguez, and James Houston.
Coming into the draft, the Lions didn’t have many glaring weaknesses, though linebacker certainly warranted an upgrade. Cornerback, defensive line, wide receiver, and guard are a few other potential areas to address.
Fans are looking forward to an encore after Detroit went 8-2 in its final 10 games of 2022, finishing just a tiebreaker short of the postseason. Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell have inspired far more confidence than any duo in recent Lions history.