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NFL Detroit Lions

Grading the Detroit Lions’ 2014 Draft Picks

Grading the Detroit Lions' 2014 Draft Picks

Detroit Lions
Jeff Hanisch USA Today Sports

The Lions are trying to get to the head of the class on the field, but first we must see how they graded out in the 2014 draft.

Eric Ebron TE UNC: Round 1, No. 10 Overall

Eric Ebron
Jeremy Brevard - USA Today Sports

Eric Ebron TE UNC: Round 1, No. 10 Overall

eric ebron jeremy brevard
Jeremy Brevard USA Today Sports

With Anthony Barr and Justin Gilbert going off the board prior to their pick, you have to think that the Lions staff went with the best player available mindset with this selection. Ebron brings the potential to be as lethal as Vernon Davis, but he also needs to work on some things. Expectations won't instantly be as high due to the other offensive weapons, so he can grow into the position. Draft Grade: B

Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU: Round 2, No. 40 Overall

Kyle Van Noy
Chris Nicoll - USA Today Sports

Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU: Round 2, No. 40 Overall

Kyle Van Noy
Chris Nicoll - USA Today Sports

Van Noy shot up many draft boards as we got closer to draft day and is the consummate "Jack of all trades, master of none". But the Lions have a need at the SAM linebacker, and he should be able to step in and provide stability there, as well as a competent pass rush. Draft Grade: B+

Travis Swanson C Arkansas: Round 3, No. 76 Overall

Travis Swanson
Nelson Cenault USA Today Sports

Travis Swanson C Arkansas: Round 3, No. 76 Overall

Travis Swanson
Nelson Chenault - USA Today Sports

There were other centers rated higher but none were heralded for the cerebral ability of Swanson. He was the leader of the Razorbacks' offensive line that challenged week in and week out in the SEC. He should be able to take over for Dominic Raiola in a year and even provide depth at guard if needed. Draft Grade: B+

Nevin Lawson CB Utah St.: Round 4, No. 133 Overall

Nevin Lawson
Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA Today Sports

Nevin Lawson CB Utah St.: Round 4, No. 133 Overall

Nevin Lawson
Stephen R. Sylvanie USA Today Sports

There was a perceived need for cornerback help by Lions fans, and maybe this is the answer. While Lawson is short in stature he has long arms -- 31-inches -- and plays with an aggression that should allow him to not only make the team but contend for the nickel back position early on. Draft Grade: B-

Larry Webster DE Bloomsburg: Round 4, No. 136 Overall

Detroit Lions
Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports

Larry Webster DE Bloomsburg: Round 4, No. 136 Overall

Detroit Lions
Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports

Webster is a former basketball player who may be better suited on the offensive side of the ball at tight end. Unfortunately the Lions already have a logjam at that position. He is a major project who could have been selected later than he was, and I don't see him making the 53-man roster. Draft Grade: D

Caraun Reid DT Princeton: Round 5, No. 158 Overall

Caraun Reid
Getty Images

Caraun Reid DT Princeton: Round 5, No. 158 Overall

Caraun Reid
Getty Images

The Lions made up for the questionable selection of Webster with a steal in Reid. While he didn't always play top competition in the Ivy League, he has all the tools and potential to make the roster and push for time in the rotation. The Lions won't have to worry about seeing his name in the police blotter either as he was an upstanding citizen. Draft Grade: B+

TJ Jones WR Notre Dame: Round 6, No. 189 Overall

TJ Jones
Rick Osentoski - USA Today Sports

TJ Jones WR Notre Dame: Round 6, No. 189 Overall

TJ Jones
Rick Osentoski - USA Today Sports

Jones could be the answer for the slot receiver position that has had the like of Ryan Broyles and Titus Young fail to seize the opportunity. This is a low-risk, high-reward selection. Not only was he productive at Notre Dame despite the quarterback issues, but he is another player with strong leadership capabilities. Draft Grade: A-

Nate Freese K Boston College: Round 7, No. 229 Overall

Nate Freese
Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports

Nate Freese K Boston College: Round 7, No. 229 Overall

Nate Freese
Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports

Kicker was a need for the Lions, but it didn't need to be addressed with a draft selection instead of a UDFA signing. Freese does come to the Lions as one of only two kickers who had more than 10 attempts without a miss last season. This selection could have addressed other needs, so that's why the grade isn't as high. Draft Grade: C