Sam LaPorta

2023 DFF Draft Coverage: Sam LaPorta to the Lions

Sam LaPorta  | Iowa 6’3” 245 lbs.  |  01/12/2001 (22)

Sam LaPorta was drafted by the Detroit Lions, becoming the second Tight End and 34th overall player in the 2023 NFL Draft.

COLLEGE PRODUCTION

Sam LaPorta LaPorta played in 12 games as a reserve during his true freshman season at Iowa. He brought in 15 receptions for 188 yards. In 2020, LaPorta was an honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference selection after leading the Hawkeyes with 27 receptions for 271 yards, and one TD in the pandemic-shortened eight-game season. LaPorta put himself on the national stage his junior year, where he was again the leading receiver for the Hawkeyes. He hauled in 53 receptions for 670 yards and three TDs and was voted third-team All-Big Ten. 

LaPorta led Iowa in receiving for the time in a row in 2022, bringing in 58 receptions for 657 yards and one TD in 12 games. He won the Big Ten Tight End of the Year Award and set the Iowa record for tight ends with 153 career receptions.

Sam LaPorta Stats, News, Bio | ESPN

FILM

At the college level, Sam LaPorta showed versatility with alignment and formational variance, and aptitude. He was able to win in coverage all over the field and against a variety of coverages. He is undersized for the NFL, so it remains to be seen how he will be deployed in Detroit. LaPorta has the ability to threaten zone coverage and will make routine catches with his consistent hands. However, he lacks the desired elusiveness, explosiveness, and ball skills to hit the home run plays or come away with the more challenging and contested catches. Run blocking is the weakest part of LaPorta’s game, and while he is willing, he struggles with poor positioning and a lack of size and strength. Still, he has the desire, awareness, and football IQ desired at the NFL level and should be able to improve as a blocker moving forward.

ATHLETIC TESTING

Sam LaPorta ran a solid 4.59 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, with a 10-yard split of 1.59, which is impressive at 245 lbs. His vertical jump was 35” and his broad jump was more impressive, at 10’3”. His three-cone drill was 6.91 and his shuttle time was 4.25, which are both above average. He chose not to participate in the bench press but did run through positional drills.  

NFL Draft 2023

DRAFT ANALYSIS 

Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Great

Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Excellent

Sam LaPorta was selected with the 34th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. 

FANTASY INSIGHTS

A high-volume target over his years at Iowa, LaPorta has proven to be a very consistent and productive player. He is a superb route runner and he has situational awareness and football IQ that allow him to play and produce bigger than his abilities. LaPorta is undersized, but athletic for his size. He is not as big or as strong of a TE as many in this draft class, but he lands in a Detroit TE room that is looking to replace T.J. Hockenson and already possesses a strong in-line blocking option in Brock Wright. We always want to temper expectations for rookie TEs, but LaPorta is set up to produce right away, albeit likely not at a top-10 level. His landing spot is great but he was drafted a little early (as many of Detroit’s rookie prospects were). Still, LaPorta has traits that should transition well to the NFL, though he does not possess the traits to become an elite, top-five option at the position. 

LaPorta should be viewed as a mid-second-round pick in dynasty rookie drafts. He is your author’s rookie TE3 currently, ahead of Luke Musgrave. He should provide immediate production in his rookie year, but he doesn’t have elite potential.

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