For the record, Eric Ebron is a great talent and could end up being a transcendent tight end in the NFL. But the Detroit Lions made a huge mistake in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by not selecting former Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He was the player who fit best at that spot, and the Lions will eventually regret not taking him.
Coming into the draft, Detroit’s two biggest needs were safety and cornerback, as the Lions need almost a complete overhaul of their secondary. With cornerback being a much deeper position in this year’s draft class than safety, the Lions knew they could have waited until Day 2, possibly Day 3, to draft a cornerback and still end up with a good one. There is less certainty of finding a quality safety in the later rounds, which is why Detroit should have jumped at taking Clinton-Dix 10th overall since he’s arguably the top safety in this year’s class.
Instead, the Lions decided to make a luxury pick and take Ebron, despite already heaving two viable pass-catching tight ends in Joseph Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew. Detroit was in no position to be making a luxury pick in the first round after its epic collapse at the end of last season resulted in them finishing third in a division they should have won easily.
Considering the state of the secondary, Detroit had no business taking any player other than a defensive back in the first round. To make matters worse, the Lions watched the player they should have taken get selected by the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers, meaning they’ll have to face him twice a season for many years to come.
Taking Ebron won’t hurt the Lions, but the redundancy at tight end does, as does the fact that Detroit didn’t use its first round pick to add a marquee player in the secondary. That is why they will ultimately regret choosing not to draft Clinton-Dix.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.