Photograph: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Actual Pick – When the Lions selected Eric Ebron with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, he was viewed as one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the draft. The Lions had big plans for him to develop into a Jimmy Graham-esque player. With offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi coming over from the Saints, it seemed like a perfect match.
Ebron was expected to stretch the field, create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses, and continue to expand the role of the tight end, in the new pass-heavy age of the NFL. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as expected.
To this point, Ebron’s career has been a disappointment (at least to Lions fans). He has not racked up the big numbers expected. He has struggled with drops and concentration lapses, and his big-play ability has shown itself far to infrequently. In two full seasons, he has amassed a mere 63 receptions, 711 yards, and 5 touchdowns.
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Re-draft Pick – Meanwhile, Aaron Donald (selected by the Rams with the 13th pick) is quickly turning into a perennial pro-bowler and one of the best defensive tackles in the league. When the Lions had a chance to draft Donald, many fans and analysts were excited at the possibility of him joining a young, impressive, and intimidating defensive line that already inlcuded Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ezekiel Ansah.
Adding Donald to the mix would have made the Lions defensive line a nightmare for opposing offenses to deal with. Putting Donald in a Detroit uniform also would have served as a back-up plan, in case they were unable to re-sign Suh and/or Fairley.
Fast-forward to 2015. Suh is a member of the Miami Dolphins, Fairley plays with Donald (but in St. Louis), and the Lions defensive tackle position is woefully thin and in need of talent. Over 100 career tackles, 20 career sacks and two trips to the Pro Bowl sounds pretty good to me. I bet it sounds (painfully) good to Lions ownership as well.
Next: Round 2