NFL Draft 2014: Lions Take Eric Ebron

ebronAfter months of speculation, the Lions finally decided to stay at number ten and make their pick. They selected the 21 year old tight end from the University of North Carolina. The 6’4” Eric Ebron is said to be a matchup problem and that is what seems to have intrigued the Lions.
Ebron played three seasons at North Carolina before forgoing his senior year for the draft. In his freshman year, he started one game but finished the season with 207 yards and a touchdown. He was held out of the Independence Brown that year due to academics. In his sophomore season he started 11 games on his way to 625 yards receiving and four touchdowns.
His final year for the Tar Heels was a record breaking one. He caught 62 passes for 973 yards and 3 touchdowns. This broke Vernon Davis’s conference record for receiving yards. This was also good enough for Second-team AP All-American and First-team All-ACC.
The Lions caught a lot of criticism from fans on Twitter for their pick yesterday. Many wanted to see them go defense with their pick while many others wanted to see them make a trade. It is impossible to know the success of this pick until a couple years down the road so there is no use crying over it now. Remember when the Lions took Roy Williams and Kevin Jones in the first round? That was viewed as a great move but neither player lived up to their first round selection.
When you look at Eric Ebron you have to realize that he is here more as a receiver than a tight end. Brandon Pettigrew will be the team’s primary blocking tight end. Ebron will take on a Jimmy Graham type role in this offense. This means that he will play a good amount of snaps from the slot. This leaves Joseph Fauria to redzone duties.
One potential problem with Eric Ebron will be his drop numbers. This is similar to the critique of Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew has a career drop rate of 11.53%. Ebron had a drop rate of 11.34% at North Carolina. While Ebron may be very athletic and a matchup problem, that doesn’t do the Lions much good if he’s dropping the ball.
Another year, another draft where the Lions went talent over need. Look for them to go defense on day two and three. However, wide receiver is still a possibility as their third receiver spot is still up in the air. The Lions should also address center with Dominic Raiola nearing the end. Other picks we may see are the Lions taking a kicker or a backup quarterback. These coming rounds are where drafts are won or lost.

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