“And with the 10th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select, Eric Ebron, tight end out of the University of North Carolina.”
The Tarheel was coveted as the best tight end in the draft and Mel Kiper’s eighth-best available player. With draft superstar wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans already off the board, the Lions looked to grab an offensive weapon in Ebron.
Ebron made a name for himself by passing Vernon Davis’ college tight end receiving yard record with 973 receiving yards. Ebron, measured at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, with hands 10 inches long and a 4.6 forty-yard dash time. His combine was nothing special, but his tape is where Lions fans can get a glimpse of what to look forward to in the upcoming season.
Ebron’s routine one-handed catches and smooth route running creates mismatches across the defense. With new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi at the helm, his New Orleans Saints mindset is understandable after this draft pick. Lombardi’s intentions are now understood, the offense needs to be more balanced like his former Saints team.
With Brandon Pettigrew coming back on a four-year contract and the emergence of undrafted rookie free agent Joseph Fauria at the tight-end position, how will Ebron fit?
Fans everywhere should envision a balanced offensive package where Ebron and Pettigrew are on opposite ends of the front line, with Calvin Johnson spread out on one side, and Golden Tate on the other. Behind them is Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in a split backfield. This offense could become a nightmare for all opposing defenses. Ebron can also be split out wide like a hybrid wide receiver-tight end much like Lombardi’s old project, Jimmy Graham.
Do not panic Lions fans. This was not the ideal pick, but Joe Lombardi has something up his sleeve. Look to see the Lions go defense with the next few picks in this year’s draft.
Chris Boggus is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.