The Detroit Lions picked up one of the top undrafted free agents in football, and now they will be set to put him and others to the test in camp.
This year, Hunter Bryant figures to be one of the players to watch, and Bleacher Report writer Kristopher Knox recently took the step of identifying the best UDFA on every single team. Bryant made the cut for the Lions as the top choice.
Here’s what he wrote:
“The Detroit Lions used a first-round draft pick on former Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson last offseason, and presumably, Hockenson will be the team’s starter moving forward. However, former Washington tight end and undrafted free agent Hunter Bryant might just carve out a role in Detroit.
Last season, Bryant caught 52 balls for 825 yards and three touchdowns, and he clocked a 4.74-second 40 at the scouting combine. While a bit undersized at 6’2″ and 245 pounds, Bryant can still be a dangerous move tight end or oversized receiver at the next level.
Bryant’s chance of sticking in Detroit could hinge on the camp production of 2019 free-agent addition Jesse James. The Lions signed James to a four-year, $22.6 million deal last year, but only $8.6 million of the remaining contract would be dead money, per Spotrac. That number drops to $4.3 million next offseason.
Bryant could stick in Detroit as James’ eventual replacement. If he doesn’t, another team is likely to snag him off the cut pile.”
The chance exists for the Lions to get some depth from having Bryant in the mix, and if he shows out, the team could elect to keep him in the mix.
Hunter Bryant a Deep Catch Threat
Bryant, one of the top pass catching tight ends in the draft, was not selected and it was a bit of a surprise considering he has major talent. Another stat that was presented shows how that talent manifests itself on the football field, and proves the Lions may have scored a major impact maker for their offense in the process.
As Pro Football Focus explained, Bryant collected over 7 receptions of 20+ yards downfield in 2019, which was the highest total of any Power 5 conference tight end last season.
Most receptions of 20+ yards by power-five TEs in 2019
1. Hunter Bryant – 7
2. Charlie Kolar – 6
3. Cary Angeline – 5
3. Jalen Wydermyer – 5 pic.twitter.com/W4u1fz2mpG
— PFF College (@PFF_College) July 6, 2020
Looking beyond the numbers, it’s clear Bryant could give the Lions another deep threat to stretch the field. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Marvin Hall already do the same thing at wide receiver, and getting Bryant into this mix gives the Lions a potentially potent deep ball option at tight end in order to stretch the field further.
Bryant could be more of a wideout than a tight end at the next level, but no matter what position he plays, seeing his ability to score completions of over 20 yards is an amazing sight for the team’s offense. Players like this are in high demand across the NFL.
Hunter Bryant Stats
Bryant, expected to be the biggest prize in the undrafted free agency period, comes to the Lions as a very productive tight end out of Washington. The Lions depth at the position behind T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James is a bit thin, so Bryant would add a little bit with his ability to go up and make catches. In college, Bryant put up 1,394 yards and 5 touchdowns, but 6-2 size means he could be a solid pass catching option for the team at the position. He should have a great chance at sticking on the roster.
Bryant has shown the big play ability at tight end as this stat proves, which makes him a player to watch even as he was undrafted to start his NFL career.
He has a great chance to crack the team’s roster.
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