By Eric Thomas
I woke up this morning and had to confirm if it was true — yes, the Lions selected Eric Ebron with the tenth pick in the Draft. We spent months breaking down defensive players; safety or cornerback, maybe another defensive to replace Suh, or a linebacker because Tulloch isn’t getting any younger.
Lions were thinking offense. Eight DBs disappeared off the board after Detroit picked at 10. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, a player whom I’ve been begging the Lions to take, went to Green Bay. Darqueze Dennard went Cincy.
The Lions felt the revolt. They scolded the collected outrage, explaining that there is a lot of draft left and we should be more patient. They said there was a lot of time left to address the defensive secondary.
The problem is that they always say that. The defensive secondary is always tomorrow’s concern. They want to give Matt Stafford more options, more weapons.
At what point does Stafford start taking this personally? Every coach was hired as a quarterback whisperer. They signed Golden Tate at significant expense because Stafford needed weapons. They reached on Eric Ebron because Stafford needs more help. When will this constant concentrated effort to help the quarterback backfire? If they want to help Stafford, why not get a defense?
People mention Tom Brady’s Super Bowls in hushed tones, but the Patriots had an amazing defense. I keep hearing people say “Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl,” but wasn’t that the defense? Do they realize that a quarterback’s best friend is a running game and a defense?
To be fair, this is the first time in several years I’ve hated a first round pick. The last one was Mike Williams. I’ve supported picks that haven’t panned out. Ebron looks like an elite tight end. If he’s Vernon Davis, great. But this is a luxury pick.
The problem seems to be the consensus opinion that Stafford has been struggling. He’s thrown for an average of 5,000 yards in the last three years. Yes, his interceptions are too high, but so are the throws. How much can Ebron affect? Now, because of Tate and Ebron, Stafford can now throw for 6,000?
I don’t understand this pick. There are two tight ends on the roster with NFL experience, and one who just signed a four year deal. There is a real chance that Ebron won’t start in the first game.
Sure, they can get defensive players in the rest of the draft, but the good ones are already picked. Teams combined for eight defensive backs after the Lions picked at ten. They will pick through the rest of the pile and hope that every other team was wrong.
Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham play on teams with good defenses. Eric Ebron now joins a team where the defensive captain has one foot out the door and the starters in the secondary would ride the bench on every other team.
Could I be wrong? I hope so. In my opinion, this off-season has been a disaster. They needed to get better on defense and they’ve gotten worse. If they were so keyed in on a tight end in the Draft, I wish they would have re-signed Louis Delmas and allowed Pettigrew to walk.
Things could change. There’s lots of moves yet to be made before the season starts, and maybe one of the many cornerbacks picked in the last few years may pan out. But as I sit here on the day after the first round of the Draft, it looks like 2014 could be a bleak year for the Lions.
I hope I’m wrong.