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Detroit Lions in Review - Tight End

If the Lions did not have a high profile rookie Tight end in 2009, this position would almost be a waste of time to grade. The Detroit Lions have a serious history of no0t using the tight ends while other teams make a living at it. Yes, I know many will say that the Lions have not had a true receiving tight end in many years. Hog wash! I know Gaines and Fitzsimmons were not speedsters at the position but they did not have a big habit of dropping passes either. They were under used for their abilities. Then, along came the 2009 draft and with the Lions second pick in the 1st round, they took Brandon Pettigrew and it looked like they were changing their ways.

Brandon Pettigrew was nothing special in the first half of the season as he only had 14 catches in the first eight weeks of the season. As the season continued however, he began to pick up the offense a little better. In his next three games he had 15 grabs for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. In a full sixteen game season those three games would pace out to be 80 receptions for 880 yards and 10 touchdowns. Unfortunately in week 12, Pettigrew only had one catch before hurting his knee and his season ended early. Brandon Pettigrew looks to be an up and coming star at the position but his injury has to be considered a mark against him. One thing that all the greatest players have in common is durability.
Grade =
( B )

Will Heller is a big strong tight end with adequate speed at best. He is one of those tight ends that can do it all but is never looked to enough to make a name for himself. The evidence of that is in his game log. Before Pettigrews injury, Heller averaged 1.6 catches a game. After the injury? 2.1 catches. Not much of a difference for a tight end who suddenly became the starter.
Grade = ( C )

Casey Fitzsimmons had his second best season since his rookie year when he caught 23 passes. The fact he had more grabs in 2009 than any of his last five seasons and he was the third tight end on the team says a lot for him. One interesting fact is that of his 18 receptions, 11 of them came in two games. If he has the talent to have 5 or 6 receptions in a game, two different times... don't you have to wonder why the Lions don't use him more often in other weeks? Especially with their lack of ability in the receiver position! Still, the unproductive weeks were too often whatever the reason.
Grade = ( C- )

Overall Grade = ( B- )

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