Let me play the role of hypocrite.
I told people on the draft special on WXYZ - Channel 7 not to “freak out” if the Lions don’t draft a defensive player in the first round.
I cautioned fans to be patient. “After-all,” I said, “Martin Mayhew had used three first round picks on defense. He gave defense his attention in three of his first four picks last season. Of his 37 draft picks, 19 were on defense.”
Then Barry Sanders steps to the podium and announces, “With the #10 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft the Detroit Lions select Eric Ebron-tight end North Carolina.”
My jaw dropped.
I thought any position but that. Then I caught myself. Tight end is not the same position it used to be. The NFL has evolved into bigger corners and safeties, faster defensive ends and tight ends who present mismatches.
However, this is what frustrates Lions fans. This team preaches the need to bring in offensive weapons who can catch the football (guys like Golden Tate) and they go out and draft Ebron. He may have broken Vernon Davis’ ACC record for receiving yards while at North Carolina, but also led the position in drops and is questioned for his work ethic and immaturity. Hasn’t this organization gone through this already with past draft picks?
I do agree this team needed an offensive weapon that could stretch defenses, but could this team not have also improved itself with a franchise left tackle? They were considering three of the tackles last year, but all were gone by the time the Lions picked at #5. They rightfully chose Ziggy Ansah. The four tackles in this year’s draft all graded out higher than the three from a year ago, and the Lions still haven’t solved their offensive line dilemma. So why not Lewan or Martin there?
Look, this team’s defense is void of play-makers. It needs guys who can CREATE turnovers and get after the passer. It needs an every-down linebacker who can play the run, cover, and rush the passer and it needs a safety who can cover. Those were all the needs heading into Thursday night, and they remain the needs as we get ready for round two as well.
I hope we hear names like Van Noy (OLB), Vereen (S) or Joyner (CB/S) for the Lions this weekend.
It will ease my frustration from the first round, and give me renewed hope for the 2014 season.
[PODCAST] Jones Angell
Shep talks to Jones Angell, North Carolina Tar Heels football announcer, about the type of player the Detroit Lions are getting in Eric Ebron, his history of drops and his personality off the field.
Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions television network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college hockey and baseball.Learn more.