With their first round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions selected TE Eric Ebron from North Carolina
Prior to the draft, I did a profile on Eric Ebron which can be viewed here. To many, this was a surprise pick. The Detroit Lions were rumored to be interested in Sammy Watkins. There were trade talk rumors floating around regarding a possible move for Watkins, Jadeveon Clowney, and Khalil Mack. Just before the draft started, there were also talks about trading up for Mike Evans. None of the trades happened. We later found out that for Buffalo to move up to the 4 spot from the 9 spot it cost them this years 4th round pick and next year’s first round pick. If other teams were asking similar, i am glad Detroit passed on a trade up.
So what made them decide on Eric Ebron when they already have Brandon Pettigrew under contract for 4 years, and Joseph Fauria with his breakout season last year? Not to mention having Michael Williams drafted last season in the seventh round. The short of it is that Martin Mayhew has a list of players he felt were elite players, and when the players they were rumored to be interested in were gone, they still had an elite player available to them so they took him.
Besides being classified by the Detroit Lion brass as elite, Eric Ebron gives the Lions something they have been looking for; a pass catcher who can create mismatches in coverage. They felt that Watkins was that player at receiver and Ebron was that player at tight end. Mayhew was quoted tonight as saying “He creates match up nightmares”. Given how teams double team Calvin Johnson, and the coverage needs for newly acquired receiver Golden Tate, it will be difficult to account for Ebron, Pettigrew, and Reggie Bush.
There has already been talk by Mayhew that Ebron will be used with Pettigrew in two tight end sets and split out wide like Jimmy Graham was in New Orleans. Ebron is being described as more than a tight end, he is more of a receiver. It will be interesting to see what Detroit does throughout the rest of the draft. If they take a wide receiver at any point, I am sure fans will have a field day with that. It is possible though given the quality and depth at the position in this draft.