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Can Joseph Fauria Make an Impact with the Lions in 2013?


In case you missed it, Joseph Fauria is a 6’7″ TD catching machine. Despite being undrafted and somewhat older than desirable (23) in a rookie prospect, he has two things going for him: Talent and Opportunity. What more could you want? Read my first article on Fauria to get some background on what he brings to the table. So why am I so high on a 23 year old undrafted free agent?

Here’s what Mike O’Hara recently had to say about Joseph Fauria:

Fauria arrived at the Lions’ rookie camp in May with a chip on his shoulder. He departed after the last mini-camp in June with the same chip firmly in place…

As NFL offenses increasingly emphasize the passing game, the premium is greater on tight ends who can catch the ball. A tight end with size and good hands can take advantage of favorable matchups against smaller defenders.

Fauria had a big senior season at UCLA, catching 46 passes for 637 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Opportunity

  • Tony Scheffler is a free agent after this season. I doubt the Lions resign him.
  • Scheffler is 30, and coming off an unimpressive 2012. His 50% catch rate (yup, half his targets hit the ground) was worst among any TE with more than 50 targets.
  • In fact, if Fauria looks good in training camp, I wouldn’t be surprised if Scheffler is released. Tony Scheffler makes $2 million. Fauria makes $405,000.
  • The Lions like to pass. Picture them in the red zone with Calvin Johnson (6’5″), Brandon Pettigrew (6’5″) and Fauria (6’7″) all on the field. Nice.

The Competition

What about the other TEs on the roster?

  • Brandon Pettigrew’s presence wouldn’t impact Fauria. The Lions like having two TEs involved in the passing game. They led the league in TE targets last year; Pettigrew got 102 targets and Scheffler 84. Plenty to go around.
  • Matt Veldman and Michael Williams are the other two TEs currently on the roster. Veldman spent all of last year on injured reserve after being signed as an UDFA by Jacksonville. Williams was drafted in the 7th round this year by the Lions.
Player Height Weight 40 Vertical 3-Cone Broad Jump 20 Yd Shuttle
M.Veldman 6’7″ 255 4.73 35.5″ 6.99 121″ 4.47
M.Williams 6’5″ 278 5.2 25.5″ 8.15 84″ 4.9
J.Fauria 6’7″ 259 4.72 35.5″ 7.49 120″ 4.53

As you can see, Williams is a very different athlete. He’ll be a blocker; in fact, it’s already been suggested he could convert to Offensive Tackle.

Veldman however appears very similar physically. But he’ll be 25 when the season starts, and lacks the pedigree of college production that Fauria has. In four collegiate seasons at North Dakota State, he totalled 49 catches for 584 yards and 7 TDs. Fauria put up 46 catches, 637 yards, and 12 TDs – in just his final season.

I rate Fauria’s chances of making the Lions roster as very good. And if he does, welcome to the all-passing-all-the-time Lions offense.

One More Thing

Need another reason to consider Fauria with a late round Dynasty pick? OK! Check the heatmap created using our College Receiver Career Graphs App.

I compared Fauria to several other rookie TEs not named Eifert or Ertz. We’ve written about Chris Gragg and Jordan Reed before. Fauria compares very well to them. So why not also consider Big Joe?

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