Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron Wouldn't Be Worst First-Round Pick

By Chris Loud
Belk Bowl - Cincinnati v North Carolina
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The Detroit Lions may be one of the most exciting teams to watch in the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday. There have been so many different choices predicted, from trading up for Sammy Watkins, to trading up for Jadeveon Clowney, stealing Khalil Mack at ten or going for Mike Evans with everything they’ve got. Personally, I like Khalil Mack, the all-around talent at outside linebacker who can rush the passer and make game-changing plays as an expert fumble forcer.

However, what about freak pass catching tight end Eric Ebron? He’ll likely be available for the Lions at ten, and he has the potential to be one of the major stars to come out of this draft right away.

Lions fans know that Brandon Pettigrew was re-signed in the offseason, which I still think was a mistake, and Joe Fauria has become a viable red zone option who could be a Jimmy Graham-like slot tight end under Joe Lombardi. In fact, the receiving tight end might become one of the most important pieces to the new offense.

With that said, do the Lions really want one of their most important offensive pieces to be Pettigrew or Fauria? Probably not.

Ebron racked up more receiving yards for North Carolina than any tight end in ACC history. He’s 6-foot-5 and can run. He’s a mismatch waiting to happen, and for the Lions he would likely line up in the slot position a fair amount. Ebron could be the Lions’ third main target behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, but what sets him apart from the other options is how the defense will have to adjust.

Linebackers will be too slow to keep up with him and corners will be too small. Sound familiar? Megatron has that going for him, so having to think about two guys with that skill set is a nightmare. You know who else is like that? Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski have made a living being that player, and the current NFL is tailor made for guys like Ebron to step in and be productive, despite inexperience.

That’s the true icing on the cake. Ebron, like Graham and Gronkowski, could be a factor the moment he steps on the field, and that’s really what the Lions need. They need to win right now — everyone knows that.

If Ebron became the Lions’ first-round draft pick in 2014, I think NFL defenses will be fearing the Lions’ offense as much as any team in the league.

Chris Loud is a Detroit Lions writer for Follow him on Twitter @cfloud, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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