Now that the 2014 NFL Draft is complete, let’s review the eight Detroit Lions’ draft picks.
Round 1, Pick 10: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
With defensive backs Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Calvin Pryor, and Darqueze Dennard still available, the Lions chose to take one of the most physically-gifted offensive weapons in this year’s draft in Eric Ebron.
Ebron, at 6-foot-4 and 250-pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. In his three-year career at North Carolina, Ebron has the most career receiving-yards for a tight end in ACC history, 1,805.
Matthew Stafford and company now have another physically-demanding weapon on offense to go along with receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
Detroit will use Ebron similar to the way Jimmy Graham is used for the New Orleans Saints.
Round 2, Pick 8 (40th overall): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
The Lions moved up five spots in the second round to get Kyle Van Noy. Detroit traded their second, fifth, and seventh-round picks (45, 111, and 227 overall, respectively) to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the 40th-overall pick and pick 18 of the fifth round (146 overall).
Van Noy recorded 54.5 tackles for loss and 20 sacks at weak-side linebacker from 2011-13. He had a career performance in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl, recording two sacks, forcing a fumble and recovering it for a touchdown, blocked a kick, and had an interception returned for a touchdown.
He fits exactly what the Lions want at the SAM linebacker position.
Round 3, Pick 12 (76th overall): Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
Swanson possesses good size at 6-foot-5 and 312-pounds, allowing the Lions to play him anywhere along the interior line if need be. He started all 50 games throughout his college career, playing against the nation’s toughest defensive-line competition in the SEC.
He provides the Lions with depth across the interior line immediately and will be a solid replacement for Dominic Raiola when he retires.
Round 4, Pick 33 (133rd overall): Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
Lawson makes up for his lack of height with great physicality and strength. He plays much bigger than he measures, 5-foot-9. He has the skills to press receivers and has experience on special teams as a gunner and jammer.
Round 4, Pick 36 (136th overall): Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg
He has an outstanding combination of size and speed (6-foot-6, 252-pounds, 4.58 40-yard dash) allowing the Lions to use him at defensive end or in the linebacker rotation. Webster has the capability to become the flamethrower that head coach Jim Caldwell has been searching for.
Round 5, Pick 18 (158th overall): Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
The Lions picked up a seventh-round pick (229 overall) from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for swapping fifth-round picks. After moving back 12 spots in the fifth round, the Lions drafted a quick interior-lineman in Caraun Reid.
Reid should find himself in the defensive-line rotation early in his career. He recorded 20 sacks over the past three seasons at Princeton.
Round 6, Pick 13 (189th overall): TJ Jones, WR, Notre Dame
Jones has exceptional hands and could evolve into a productive slot-receiver after dedicating some time to the weight room. He caught 70 passes, for 1,108 yards, and 9 touchdowns in 2013.
Round 7, Pick 14 (229th overall): Nate Freese, K, Boston College
Freese was an All-American in his senior season and made 70 of 81 field goals in his career. After opting to not re-sign kicker David Akers, the Lions will have to fill that void in 2014. Freese will have the opportunity, along with others, to be named the Lions starting kicker in training camp.