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The Detroit Lions entered the 2018 season with an entirely revamped tight end room. Eric Ebron and Darren Fells both joined another team last spring and the team had to replace them. Enter Levine Toilolo (and Luke Willson) Womens Christian Jones Jersey , a tight end with 74 career receptions in five NFL seasons. A tight end who played in one of the greatest offenses in the modern era, the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. Toilolo had a fairly quiet year in Detroit. He caught 21 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown, but low production was expected from the Stanford alum. Toilolo was primarily brought in to be a blocker. And a great blocker he was.The tight end finds most his success as a run blocker. He is great at getting low and driving defenders out of a gap. Toilolo is really strong and can push a defender all the way across the formation when he is asked to. He is a smart blocker as well, and rarely does he end up shoving the man that he is blocking into the path of the running back. He has great awareness, and when he is forced to go in motion to find someone to block, he usually is able to find his assignment in time to make a good block to support his running back.While Toilolo is very strong and has all the physicality anyone would ever need to succeed in the NFL, he is one of the stiffest players on the roster. He has virtually zero explosion, he is not at all agile and he is incredibly slow. There may be a few NFL tackles with better athleticism than Toilolo. This should hurt him a bit as a pass blocker, as tight ends are usually matched up against quick, agile and bendy defensive ends. Toilolo still manages to make it work, though. The tight end is often beat out of his stance by his opposition, but his footwork Calvin Johnson Jersey White , football IQ and technique allows him to recover quickly enough to seal the edge anyways. This play against the New England Patriots is a good example.The Patriots rusher clearly gets the jump on Toilolo. The linebacker gets beneath the tight end and drives him back. Toilolo’s strength allows him to hold the block long enough to give Matthew Stafford a clean pocket, though, and the play results in a touchdown.On this play against the Patriots, he is forced to hold a block in open space as he is lined up as a receiver. He is basically the only thing between a sack and a touchdown on this play, and he comes up big for the Lions. While his lack of athleticism does not detract from his skills as a blocker much, it kills any chance at contributing a large volume as a receiver. Toilolo had a few stand out games as a receiver last season, but when watching the games back, it feels more like the opposing defense was allowing him to. They were willing to let Toilolo have a huge day if it meant not letting Stafford find receivers like Kenny Golladay open downfield. While you can commend Toilolo for being able to get open and catch passes, the big days he had towards the end of the season seem to be more of an indictment of the tight end room’s failures to produce all season rather than an indication of the skill of Toilolo. In reality, Toilolo is a very slow, stiff route runner. He gets a majority of his work as a quick outlet for Stafford underneath. He rarely gets anything after the catch, and when he is forced to run a route deep downfield Kerryon Johnson Jersey White , he cannot get open against man coverage. This isn’t a huge issue, though. Toilolo was never supposed to be a big part of the Lions receiving game anyways.Does Toilolo have a future in Detroit?Toilolo is a player made to play for new Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. His ability as a run blocker should help the ground attack that Detroit really seems to be leaning towards and with question marks across the Lions offensive line at the moment, his ability as a pass blocker will be of great use as well. The tight end will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He signed a one-year deal worth $1 million last spring. Expect a contract for him this year to cost slightly more and maybe even have a few extra years on it. He will not be a starter going forward, and Detroit will still need to add an athletic receiving tight end, but Toilolo deserves another contract with the Lions. He was brought in to do one job, and he did that job really well. Not everyone is impressed with the Lions’ UDFA haul."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Detroit Lions NewsDetroit Lions NotesDetroit Lions AnalysisDetroit Lions TransactionsDetroit Lions Game RecapsNFL DraftDetroit Lions AnalysisDetroit Lions UDFA class ranked in bottom half of NFLNew,80commentsNot everyone is impressed with the Lions’ UDFA haul. EDTShareTweetShareShareDetroit Lions UDFA class ranked in bottom half of NFLJeff Hanisch-USA TODAY SportsAs with every year, the Detroit Lions’ undrafted rookie signings seem to have drummed up some excitement with the fanbase. Undrafted free agents (UDFAs) make for great underdog stories and provide fans with hope at positions left unaddressed in the draft or players that were surprisingly looked over.Admittedly, there are some actual reasons for Lions fans to be hopeful of this year’s class of post-draft signings. Wisconsin’s Beau Benzschawel may not only contend for a roster spot, but could theoretically even be a long-term solution at right guard. The fact that he had offers from over 20 different teams shows just how high of a UDFA priority he was.Additionally, the Lions gave San Diego State offensive tackle Ryan Pope $145,000 guaranteed Womens Luke Willson Jersey , suggesting he had a lot of suitors too. Throw in a raw talent like defensive end Malik Carney, and you have three players that could realistically make the 53-man roster—a pretty impressive haul for one year of UDFAs.But not everyone is impressed. Thor Nystrom from Rotoworld ranked all 32 teams’ UDFA classes based on his own pre-draft prospect rankings. The Lions came out just 17th in his rankings. (Hey look, he used RAS!) Nystrom doesn’t say much about the Lions’ class, only that he’s surprised Benzschawel didn’t get drafted.“Per reports, Benzschawel had contract offers from half the league or more — the Vikings were among teams burning up his phone line when the draft concluded on Saturday night,” Nystrom wrote. “I was lower on Benzschawel than some, but I still found it odd he didn’t get drafted.”Benzschawel placed 150th in Nystrom’s class rankings, while Carney (220), Stetson tight end Donald Parham (288) and Pope (300) all just barely cracked his 300. Obviously this is just one analyst’s opinion, but it’s always interesting to see how the national media perceives the Lions’ moves.
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