Lions to Host Top Michigan Weapon With Comparison to Bills’ Pro Bowler

Luke Schoonmaker

Getty Luke Schoonmaker during Michigan's 2022 Big Ten Title game.

With the NFL draft approaching, the Detroit Lions are making sure to do their homework as it relates to knowing plenty of players at many different spots.

Thus far, the team’s pre-draft process has centered around not only getting to know some obvious fits, but players down the board who could be hidden-gems for the future as well.

One such player is Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker. The Lions don’t have to travel far to get Schoonmaker in the building, and as a new report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler showed, they are doing just that ahead of the draft.

Fowler revealed that Schoonmaker will be coming in the building for a pre-draft visit with the team, and he will have four other visits with other teams on top of that.

“Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker has pre-draft visits with Bills, Broncos, Bucs, Jets and Lions, per source. Schoonmaker a key part of a deep tight end class,” Fowler tweeted.

Thus far, the Lions have only chosen to do homework on other names down the board at the position. When combined with the team’s inactivity in free agency at the spot, it could paint the picture of a front office that is content with the players they do have that could be looking to find a value.

The Lions might be looking for a middle-to-late round insurance policy, and a player like Schoonmaker could fit that line of thinking for the team quite well in the years ahead.

Luke Schoonmaker’s Career Stats & Highlights

An underrated talent that could give a major boost to the position, Schoonmaker is a player that has shown he has some definite upside as a pass catcher.

During his time in college, Schoonmaker has been very productive for Michigan overall in his career, posting 637 yards and seven touchdowns in his career for the Wolverines. At 6’5″ and 250 pounds, he also has the kind of size to be a good weapon for the Lions down the field and in the red zone.

Here’s a look at some of Schoonmaker’s highlights from playing for the Wolverines:

In addition to the passes he does catch, Schoonmaker has been referred to as a solid blocker in his draft profile at by Lance Zierlien. Zierlein compared Schoonmaker to 2022 Pro Bowler Dawson Knox of the Buffalo Bills. With that in mind, he could come packing the skills the team appreciates right away.

“Versatile combination tight end capable of performing a variety of tasks in one-, two- or three-tight end sets. Schoonmaker steps foot on the field ready for action as a run blocker and does a nice job of competing in the entry and sustain phases of the block. He will need to add more muscle and play strength but already has a feel for creating run-lane angles with his footwork,” Zierlein wrote of Schoonmaker.

Detroit has names such as Shane Zylstra, Brock Wright and James Mitchell on the roster at the position, so a player like Schoonmaker in the middle rounds could be a good depth idea for the Lions to add some developmental pass catching and blocking punch for the team.

Lions’ Tight End Situation Into Draft

Whether the Lions need a tight end or not is a major matter of debate for the offseason, and that is especially true given the situation at the position on the roster already.

Between Zylstra, Mitchell and Wright, Detroit’s group picked up the slack well in order to produce for the team following the trade of T.J. Hockenson. It can be a bit surprising that they were able to set the record for tight end touchdowns in a season after dealing away Hockenson for draft picks, but it has happened, which could point to their value.

Additionally, the group turned in big plays, such as when Wright went for a touchdown on fourth-and-inches in New York to help in a 20-17 win over the Jets.

The combination of Zylstra, Mitchell and Wright combined for 389 yards and nine touchdowns this season. That was solid production, but it was also nearly the output of one other tight end from three separate players on the roster.

Detroit did not look to bolster the position in free agency, electing against signing one of the top name tight ends such as Mike Gesicki, Hayden Hurst, Austin Hooper and Dalton Schultz. For right now, they are left with their own in-house tandem.

Given the presence of Mitchell, a 2022 fifth-round pick, the Lions might not be feeling the pressure to add to the position early on. That could leave a player like Schoonmaker as a good fit further down the board in the draft.

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