Sam LaPorta had an impressive career for the Iowa Hawkeyes that led to his selection in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Hawkeyes defensive coordinator Brian Ferentz called LaPorta as good as any tight end he’s had in Iowa City. That list includes 49ers NFL All-Pro George Kittle and current Minnesota Viking T.J. Hockensen.
Other successful Iowa tight ends in recent history include Tony Moeaki, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Scott Chandler, Dallas Clark and others.
LaPorta’s development in Lions minicamp and OTAs so far has been exciting for Lions fans, coaches, and players. He could become the team’s starting tight end from day one in the NFL, if his current trajectory continues.
Really excited to see how the speed and agility of Sam LaPorta elevates the #Lions offense. It’ll be nice having a tight end in a Ben Johnson offense that can stay on his feet post catch. pic.twitter.com/PmexroEtzP
— Jack Krumm (@Jpekius) June 12, 2023
On June 15 it was announced that LaPorta is signing a contract with the Lions that is quite impressive for a rookie second rounder. LaPorta was taken with the 34th pick overall. His new contract includes over $7 million in guaranteed money from the Lions.
#Lions second-round pick Sam LaPorta deal: $9.465 million, $3.884 million signing bonus, $7.825 million total guaranteed, fully guaranteed 2023-2025, $408,000 guarantee 2026, $92,000 other compensation 2026
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) June 15, 2023
“He’s right where he needs to be,” Lions tight ends coach Steve Heiden said this past Monday according to the Detroit Free Press. “He’s doing a good job every day coming and trying to implement the things that we’re teaching within the gameplan and scheme, so he’s right where he needs to be.”
Early prognostications in Detroit are that LaPorta is a great fit for Jared Goff and the Lions’ offense. Goff excels at throwing short passes allowing his receivers including Amon-Ra St. Brown, tight end Brock Wright, Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond and others to rack up yards after the catch.
While many fans wondered why the Lions passed on Michael Mayer of Notre Dame, a higher rated prospect on many draft boards, the Lions’ brass seems thrilled by the selection of LaPorta.
The 22-year-old Lions tight end hails from Highland, Illinois. He finished his career ranked 12th all-time in receiving yards in Iowa history – firmly ahead of the other tight ends on this list.