The Detroit Lions weren’t the only team to have top draft pick Sam LaPorta. The Cincinnati Bengals wanted him too.
The Detroit Lions started Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft by taking tight end Sam LaPorta with their first second-round pick. While taking a tight end was hardly a surprise for Detroit, some have questioned whether LaPorta — just the second tight end taken in the draft — was the best option still available in the draft.
Well, thanks to an interview with Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor, we know the Lions weren’t the only team to think LaPorta deserved to be drafted so high.
“There were definitely some tight ends that we had some respect for. They were chosen fairly (quickly). Those first two we really liked and they went with the 26th pick probably and the 35th pick I think in Detroit,” Taylor said on the Bleav in Bengals podcast. “They were two very good players who I think would have really helped us, but, again, we’re happy not to hit them because we felt good in the group we had.”
Note: Dalton Kincaid went 25th to the Bills, Sam LaPorta went 34th to the Lions. I missed it at this point, Zack.
Unless they intended to trade, the Bengals stood no chance against Kincaid, as their first pick was 28th overall. They could have taken LaPorta with that selection, and Taylor’s words likely suggest he was under consideration there. However, they went with Clemson Edge defender Myles Murphy, who fills an equally pressing need for them.
That said, tight end was also considered a pretty high need for Cincinnati. Unfortunately for them, they missed the tight end rush in the second round. Not only did LaPorta pick pick 34, but Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer went with pick 35, Luke Musgrave went to the Packers at 42 and Luke Schoonmaker went to Dallas at 58, all before the next pick of the Bengals at 60.
Given that close race, it stands to reason that Taylor only named Kincaid and LaPorta as the two they thought they really missed. At the very least, it points to the fact that LaPorta was a tight top two on their roster, and, again, that could mean he was being considered with their 28th pick, even though Taylor said he was glad they didn’t. reach.
LaPorta was a very productive player in the tight factory that is Iowa. He leaves the program as the receptions leader for a tight end and an incredibly athletic profile that offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will use to his full potential.
It’s further proof that the Lions have a player who was highly regarded by many draft analysts, and if LaPorta’s performance in rookie minicamp is any indication, we’ll all see that talent show up on the roster very soon. ground.