Detroit Lions: Both sides of the Eric Ebron argument

It seems as though the Eric Ebron era is upon us in Detroit, and I’m not sure the new regime has been accepted with open arms.

If twitter and facebook are a barometer, I’d say that the decision the Detroit Lions made to draft Ebron with the tenth overall pick was cloudy with a chance of suicide.

Now, all of my known associates are morons when it comes to sports, so there’s no reason to panic, right? These doofuses on facebook don’t know what they’re talking about!

Exactly. Well, sorta.

I mean, I guess.

Eric Ebron is a great athlete. He has good hands. He can make plays over the middle, down the field and anywhere in between. Honestly, he reminds me a bit of another Lion- Calvin Johnson. He’s a little fatter (6-4, 245 to Johnson’s 6-5, 235) and not as athletic, but the size and playmaking ability is there.

So why does everyone hate this pick? Simple: the Lions have no need for a tight end.

Playmakers are playmakers, and to GM Martin Mayhew’s credit, he got arguably the best pass-catching one left with Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans off the board. I compare Ebron more to wide receivers than tight ends, because he’s definitely a pass catcher, and not much more. He’s never been a blocking tight end and never will be.

Which is fine- it’s worked well for Jimmy Graham. But I’m not sure Ebron is the next Graham.

What I am sure of is the fact that the Lions’ defense needs help in several areas, most notably the secondary. The cornerback platoon of Chris Houston, Bill Bentley, Rashean Mathis, Darius Slay and Chris Greenwood isn’t scaring anyone, and while I like Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo isn’t a dynamic playmaker anymore at age 30.

The Lions could have taken Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Darqueze Dennard, Calvin Pryor or Jason Verett to bolster the secondary, but instead they went all Matt Millen and grabbed another offensive playmaker.

If Detroit’s track record was a bit better in this regard, I might not be upset, but their record consists of Mike Williams, Charles Rogers and Brandon Pettigrew.

So, yeah. At least they hit with Megatron.

Hopefully they’ll hit on Ebron too, and things may look good because I actually felt they hit on the last tight end they brought it- Joseph Fauria.

[Grading the Lions first-round pick]

Fauria may be known more for his touchdown dances than his game, but if he’s dancing, he’s scoring, which is a big plus. I think Fauria and Ebron are very similar, another reason I don’t get the Ebron pick. Why not develop Fauria, who has already shown the ability to make circus catches like Ebron, into a top-level tight end instead of spending a top-10 pick on one?

Say all you want about the Lions’ defense being ranked in the middle of the pack in most categories, but they aren’t an average defense in my mind. As is the trend, more passes will be thrown this year than last, more passes will be thrown the year after that, and so on.

A good secondary is necessary to win in the NFL, plain and simple. Hopefully, the Lions have a plan to address this in the next six rounds. There is still solid talent available. I really like Phillip Gaines from Rice in the middle rounds and Loucheiz Purifoy from Florida in the mid-late rounds. Should the Lions add these two guys, they could still salvage the secondary.

Eric Ebron

What does Ebron’s arrival mean for Johnson?

On the business side of things is where this pick starts to make a little sense. Remember when I said Ebron reminds me of Johnson? The latter of the two is signed to a monster deal (7 years, $132 mil) and has been no stranger to injuries. He’s always been able to play through his balky knee, but I see it as a major concern for the long-term. Could Ebron be the heir apparent to Johnson? Could Detroit trade Megatron to get out from under his megadeal?

It seems unlikely, but so did taking a tight end at pick number ten.

 

Related article: Three-round mock draft

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