Lions also like Golden Tate's "toughness" as blocker

Posted Apr 4, 2014

The Seahawks ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in 2013 with 11 runs of 20-plus yards and a lot of times big runs are the result of good down-field blocking by receivers

The Detroit Lions made Golden Tate their No. 1 free-agent target this offseason for a lot of reasons.

First and foremost they liked his versatility, route running and terrific pair of hands. Tate attacks the football on film and has dropped just seven passes in four years in the NFL.

One aspect of his game that hasn’t been talked about a whole lot, however, but was a big part of his success in Seattle, is his ability to be a willing and able run blocker.

Tate is coming from an offense that ran the ball 55 percent of the time in 2013.

The Seahawks ranked in the top 10 in the NFL with 11 runs of 20-plus yards last year. A lot of times explosive runs of the 20-plus variety are the result of good down-field blocking by the receiving corps.

“I like his toughness,” general manager Martin Mayhew said of Tate at the NFL Annual Meetings last month. “I like him as a blocker, the physical aspect of his game.”

The Lions have a big-play threat on the ground in Reggie Bush, who recorded six runs of 20-plus yards last season. 

Calvin Johnson is a terrific down-field blocker, and now coupled with Tate, Bush and the other Lions running backs have the potential to see more space to run in the second and third levels this year.

“He plays with an attitude,” Mayhew said of Tate. “With some swagger and toughness. He was highly productive in (Seattle’s) offense, which is a really balanced offense.

“He’s good run after the catch. He can return punts. I liked him when he came out of college. I like the way he plays. I think he fits us very well and what we’re trying to do offensively. He’s the kind of guy you can just get the ball in his hands and he can make something happen.”