Scheffler gives Lions upgrade, options on offense

Today’s three-way trade between Detroit, Philly and Denver that sent tight end Tony Scheffler to the Lions, Ernie Sims to the Eagles and a draft pick to the Broncos is another example of how Jim Schwartz and the Lions are making the right upgrades to their roster.

There is some mixed reaction on losing Sims, but when you take a step back and forget about the idea of trading a former top-ten pick, we have to see that the former Florida State star was never an impact player for Schwartz and was not a good fit in Detroit.

He is worth giving up for Scheffler — because the TE from Denver now gives the Lions and QB Matthew Stafford more options on offense.

Brandon Pettigrew, one of the Lions’ first-round picks last season, is coming off of a knee injury, but I don’t see this as a reason for going out and getting Scheffler. Pettigrew is a conventional TE and is looked at by some in the league as the best blocking TE coming out in the 2009 draft. He’s a player that can align to the core of the offensive line and hopefully project as a red-zone target when he returns. But, his major value may come in the run game.

With Scheffler, the Lions get some creativity at the TE position — especially when they use their Ace personnel (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB). Scheffler can be that “move-guy,” the player that can align away from the formation, in bunch sets, and give the Lions a 3-WR look — which can force the hand of the defense and what they do with their own personnel. It’s a potential matchup issue for defenses.

We see it all of the time in Indianapolis — and I am not going to try and compare Scheffler to the game of Dallas Clark. But the idea and the possibilities it can create for the play calling in Detroit are along the same lines.

But, the major thing that happened today for the Lions was that they upgraded their roster. Detroit needed players under Schwartz to win. They started when free agency opened in March with the additions of WR Nate Burleson, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and the trade for Corey Williams.

And now, they have added another player in Scheffler — right before they could add a potential force in Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska with the second pick of the draft on Thursday night.

Time to jump on the Detroit bandwagon? Not yet, but the moves do reflect a team that is making the right changes.

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