If you are a fantasy football enthusiast with no loyalties to the Detroit Lions, you are applauding their selection of North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron last night with the No. 10 pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. If you live and breathe Lions football, you probably reacted to the pick with "Oh, no! Not again!"
Some analysts will argue that Ebron is the third best "pass catcher" in this year's draft. Only wide receivers Sammy Watkins, the No. 4 pick overall, and Mike Evans, the No. 7 pick, were rated higher than the North Carolina tight end.
Maybe Ebron falls into that yet unnamed category that applies to tight ends like New Orleans' Jimmy Graham. Fantasy football enthusiasts were questioning last year: Is Graham really a tight end, a wide receiver or some sort of hybrid?
If Graham and Ebron are allergic to blocking but productive downfield pass catchers, then is it accurate to list them as tight ends because they most often line up next to an offensive tackle?
You may find this topic interesting or amusing, but the Lions' faithful fans are seething over the selection of a tight end instead of a show-stopping defensive player. Wearers of Detroit face paint are asking this morning: "What happened to 'we need to upgrade the back seven on defense'?"
Ebron was projected as the No. 18 pick on my draft board, though I threw the board away once NFL teams started trading picks like baseball cards. (Do kids still trade baseball cards like I did last century?)
The New York Jets were supposed to draft Ebron, so quarterback Geno Smith would have a tight end(?) to go with their cadre of wide receivers. Now it looks like Lions management (general manager Martin Mayhew, head coach Jim Caldwell and team president Tom Lewand) wants to guarantee that quarterback Matthew Stafford rejoins the 5,000-yards passing club.
More offensive firepower makes for great entertainment and potential episodes of excessive drooling during the fantasy football season, but it doesn't guarantee more wins than losses. Detroit proved in the second half of the 2013 season they could give away games as easily as they draft skilled position players for their offense.
Only one defensive back, Justin Gilbert, had been selected prior to the Lions' pick. It is hard to swallow that Detroit wouldn't benefit from having one of the following players on defense:
- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
- Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
- C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
- Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Now the doubters are expecting the Lions to draft a kicker in the second round tonight and the optimists are hoping there are plenty of defensive stars for Detroit to select in the remaining rounds of the 2014 draft.