football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
Devin Funchess

Can Devin Funchess Succeed at TE for Lions?

  • Justin Melo
  • June 15, 2022
  • Share

The Detroit Lions signed former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess on Tuesday and moved him to tight end. A second-round selection (No. 41 overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft, Funchess has struggled to meet the expectations he was labeled with as a prospect coming out of Michigan. A switch back to tight end represents a last-ditch effort to revive Funchess’ career, but his chances of sticking on the Lions’ 53-man roster are low.

It’s worth noting the position switch isn’t completely new to the Detroit, Michigan native. Funchess was once considered a four-star tight end recruit and the fifth-ranked tight end in the nation coming out of Harrison High School in 2012. Funchess began his collegiate career at Michigan at tight end and experienced some degree of success. Funchess was named the Big Ten’s Tight End of the Year at the conclusion of the 2013 campaign. Funchess made the switch to wide receiver ahead of the 2014 season and responded by posting a career-high 62 receptions. Funchess entered the league as a wide receiver but has consistently failed to reach his ceiling while simultaneously struggling to maintain health.

Funchess hasn’t appeared in a regular-season contest since 2019, and even then he made a single appearance as a member of the Indianapolis Colts before suffering a season-ending broken collarbone injury. Funchess recorded three receptions for 32 yards. The 2018 campaign represents the last time Funchess was a full-time contributor, appearing in 14 games with the Panthers. Funchess totaled 44 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns. He’s since spent time with three different organizations (the Colts, Green Bay Packers, and San Francisco 49ers) before signing with the Lions earlier this week.

Analyzing Detroit’s tight end room proves that Funchess faces an uphill battle. T.J. Hockenson is a superstar at the position. It’s also worth noting the Lions drafted a tight end in the 2022 NFL Draft. Lions General Manager Brad Holmes used a fifth-round selection on former Virginia Tech tight end James Mitchell. Mitchell is a smooth athlete that’s almost guaranteed a roster spot due to his draft positioning (teams rarely release fifth-round rookies). The Lions also signed free-agent tight end Garrett Griffin, who has a history alongside Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell. Campbell previously spent five seasons (2016-20) as Griffin’s tight ends coach in New Orleans. The presences of Mitchell and Griffin make Funchess’ chances of making the 53-man roster significantly more difficult. The Lions would likely have to keep four tight ends for Funchess to even have a chance.

When attempting to look on the bright side, some of the weaker aspects of Funchess’ game could be hidden at his new position. Funchess was always viewed as an unathletic prospect that struggled to separate from man coverage, particularly on the boundary. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Funchess ran a disappointing 4.70. As a prospect, Funchess ultimately hung his hat on his ability to thrive as a contested-catch winner, which has often led to volatile results at the professional ranks. Funchess isn’t athletic or dynamic enough to defeat man coverage and NFL cornerbacks with regularity. A move to tight end could potentially place him in more favorable positions against opposing safeties and linebackers.

Funchess’ chances of succeeding at tight end are extremely slim, but there’s at least an unknown factor involved that could potentially lead to a pleasant surprise for Detroit’s front-office brass. There’s unfortunately no element of “unknown” that remains at wide receiver for Funchess to explore. A position switch this deep into Funchess’ career manages to summarize a fairly concerning situation for his chances of ever developing into a legitimate pass-catching weapon.

Filed In

Written By

Justin Melo