Shane Zylstra Makes Statement to Lions for Roster Inclusion Next Year

Shane Zylstra

Getty Shane Zylstra catches a pass for a score in 2022 for the Lions.

The Detroit Lions didn’t see many players show up for their big loss to the Carolina Panthers, but one person who did was tight end Shane Zylstra.

Zylstra’s best day as a pro in the NFL was overshadowed by the loss, but it was no less impressive. The tight end got loose for three touchdowns, and did his work from the start of the game right up until the bitter end.

The tight end started off the scoring early in the first quarter on second and goal, knotting the game 7-7.

Later on, with the game a bit out of hand, Zylstra managed to get in the end zone on fourth-and-2 to make the score 31-14 in the third quarter.

Finally, Zylstra drew the Lions a bit closer on first and goal late in the fourth quarter with a passing touchdown to make it 34-20.

With the Lions needing production at tight end, they managed to get plenty from Zylstra after the trade of T.J. Hockenson. 53 yards and four touchdowns later this year, Zylstra has proven a red zone threat. Combined with Brock Wright and James Mitchell, the Lions may have a solid three headed monster at the position for next year.

Many have maintained the Lions might need a tight end, but Zylstra is proving why they might not. He along with his teammates are capable players who can get the job done at a tough position on the field.

If Zylstra sticks around, a big reason could be the way he played in this game late in the season. It might be the best possible statement at the best moment Zylstra could have enjoyed.

Jared Goff Praised Zylstra’s Big Day

The Lions know what to expect from Zylstra, which is a big advantage he has within the offense right now. The quarterback has confidence in the player and has developed a relationship with Zylstra.

After the game, Goff spoke with reporters and shared that he has plenty of faith in Zylstra getting the job done on the field whenever he is targeted.

“He’s been very helpful for us. He played receiver in college and has those abilities. A guy that I trust, a guy who’s always where he’s supposed to be and a guy that we all trust. Can do a lot of things in the pass game and nice to have out there,” Goff told the media.

Obviously, Goff has trust in Zylstra, which is huge for the future and how much value the tight end has for the team. To have a quarterback feel that way is very significant for the youngster.

Zylstra’s Career Stats & Highlights

Does Zylstra have a chance at sticking on the roster next season? At this point it’s hard to say, but he does have some solid numbers to rely on toward perhaps getting him there.

While playing for Minnesota State, Zylstra was a decorated pass catcher with 227 receptions, 4,297 yards and 54 touchdowns to his credit, all of which were school records. Here’s a look at a big play:

In the NFL, Zylstra has not seen much time, but did hit the Lions’ roster late in 2021 and caught 3 passes for 34 yards on seven targets in four games then. He was injured late in the season, but is healthy now and proving his worth in a big way to a needy roster.

Zylstra has the pedigree, talent and mindset. The only thing left to see now is if it pays off in a significant role for the team in 2023. Certainly, he has earned a look after showing his value to the team.

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