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Wright talks re-signing with Lions, his path to the NFL

There will be players who don't hear their names called next Thursday, Friday or Saturday when the NFL Draft takes place in Detroit.

Lions veteran tight end Brock Wright was one of those players who went undrafted out of Notre Dame in 2021. He was a blocking tight end who caught just seven passes in four seasons for the Fighting Irish and he knew it was going to be a long shot for him to be drafted.

"Our exit interviews at the end of the year I was talking with (offensive coordinator) Ben Johnson and he said, 'Man, don't you think that picking Detroit was the best decision you've ever made in your life in unrestricted free agency?' I've said that multiple times now. By far it's one of the best decisions I've ever made."

The one benefit of not being drafted is those players are free to sign with whichever team they want at the conclusion of the draft. Wright signed with Detroit and made the practice squad out of training camp. He was elevated to the active roster Week 7 and caught a couple touchdown passes as a rookie.

View photos from offseason workouts on Monday, April 15, 2024.

He's developed into one of the better blocking tight ends in the league with speed and playmaking ability in the passing game. It culminated with Wright signing a three-year, $12 million restricted free agent offer sheet with the San Francisco 49ers in free agency this offseason, an offer sheet the Lions matched to retain his services.

Wright said it was a nervous and exciting time waiting for the Lions to use their five-day window to match the 49ers' offer. Wright joked when speaking to reporters today that he started to look at housing in San Francisco and was shocked by the price per square foot. He said the Lions matched the offer with just two and a half hours left in their window to do so.

From undrafted free agent to a $12 million contract offer in three seasons, Wright is a great example for all the players next week who might feel the disappointment of not being drafted.

"My second year after my rookie season I was watching the draft in the Henry Hotel where all of us stayed during OTAs and I looked in the room and there were six of us in there and all of us were undrafted," Wright said. "I said, 'Why are we even watching this thing?' It was funny.

"I didn't really have the highest expectations. I knew my college stats and career that it probably would be tough to be drafted but I performed fairly well on pro day which helped get some eyes on me."

Wright said his goal was to get into OTAs with a team, show people what he could do and take it day by day. It's now been 4,735 days since Wright made the decision to sign with the Lions. During that span he's become an important player in one of the top offenses in the league who does a little bit of everything at a really high level.

"Probably just be a sponge and absorb all the knowledge you can," Wright said of the advice he'd give any players who go undrafted. "If you just focus on yourself and do the best you can do things will play out how they should."

They certainly have for Wright, and that's good advice for players heading into next week's NFL Draft in Detroit.

"I think it gives you a chip on your shoulder," Wright said of being a UDFA. "I mean, I'm proud of it. Someone told me this stat a few years ago that a third of the league is made up of UDFAs and I think that's a testament to kind of the work ethic it takes to get a job in the league and once you are there you kind of know that's what it takes to maintain it. I'm definitely proud of that."

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