I know that a lot of Detroit Lions fans are very angry with this year’s first-round draft pick. With all the rumors of trading up to get Sammy Watkins, or even somebody like Khalil Mack, Detroit fans really thought they’d get something special out of the first round. I know Eric Ebron might not have been what you were expecting, and you were thinking that if the Lions were not going to get a top-notch receiver, than they had to go defense. Well, Ebron is in fact a top-notch receiver, and he actually is that star-caliber first-round pick.
Ebron is not a typical tight end, and really won’t play like one in the NFL under Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombari. He’ll even line up in the slot at times, and he’ll serve as a main target in the same way that guys like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski have in the past. Lombardi coached Graham, and his style of offense will put Ebron to very good use, and make him a matchup nightmare.
If you think of Ebron as a big and talented wide receiver, then it makes sense. The Lions still needed a good receiver to put on the field with Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson. Most teams in the league now have two, three, or even four big-time receivers. Look at the San Francisco 49ers, they just traded for Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills, and they already have a killer receiving core. Granted, their defense has always been solid, but they did lose quite a few starters.
As for the Lions defense, no one player is going to help the situation. Even if you grab a top prospect at linebacker or defensive back, there will still be questions about the Lions secondary. With the Ebron pick, the Lions offense is set. It’s one of the best in the league now, hands down. The Lions spent later-round picks grabbing solid defensive players that will hopefully show some game come late summer.
They also went out in the offseason and grabbed quite a few secondary players, which should have been an indication that they were looking for proven talent in the secondary, and not just trying to build from the ground up on defense.
The bottom line is, Ebron will have more of an impact on the Lions success than any one defensive player would have at the 10th pick, and that’s really what you want from a first-round guy. You need an impact player, and the Lions felt that Ebron solidified the receiving core, and they were happy bolstering the defense in later rounds.
It wasn’t a perfect draft by the Lions, but I think it will prove to be a fruitful gain, and help the Lions get further into the postseason.