For a second consecutive year, the Detroit Lions used a second round draft choice on a wide receiver -- Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles -- with the skill-set to make plays from the slot. No. 2 tight end Tony Scheffler frequently played in the slot in Detroit's two-tight end personnel groupings last season, but he's not worried about losing playing time to Broyles, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
"It's one of those things in the NFL where you learn to take care of your business and, as long as I do my job, I'm not really concerned with how he (Broyles) fits in," Scheffler said. "I'll help him out. We'll do a lot of similar stuff, so it's fun to have him. He's a great athlete and shoot, he's one of the best college wide receivers that ever played."
In Matthew Stafford's 5,000-yard season, Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson were on the field 90 percent of the time, with 2011 second round pick Titus Young playing in nearly two-third of the snaps. Scheffler played in less than 30 percent of the plays, but was tied for second on the team with six receiving touchdowns. So even if Scheffler loses some playing time, he'll surely play a key role in the Lions' red zone offense.
Two factors should keep Scheffler's playing time where it is. First, the Lions aim to be more balanced offensively this season. Injuries hit the running back position hard in 2011, with Jahvid Best and 2011 second round pick Mikel Leshoure missing most or all of the season due to concussions (Best) and a torn Achilles (Leshoure). Secondly, Broyles, the NCAA's all-time leader in receptions with 349, is coming off a torn ACL from last November and the coaching staff has no timetable for when he might be ready to play and do not plan to rush his recovery.