Here is my attempt to assess the Lion's first round pick, TE Eric Ebron out of North Carolina. I looked at his measurables and compared them to other NFL tight ends (see end of post for actual numbers). The others I compared him to were the other Lions' TE's, Pettigrew and Fauria, Saints' TE Jimmy Graham, (former) super duo Patriots' TE's Gronkowski and Hernandez (I think that the media has stayed away from Aaron Hernandez comparisons for obvious reasons, but I think it's worth looking at), 49ers' TE Vernon Davis, and just for fun, the other big, tall offensive weapon in this draft, WR Mike Evans.
MY ASSESSMENT OF EBRON'S STRENGTHS AND HOW HE WILL BE USED:
Okay, so a couple things jump out immediately when comparing Ebron to these other tight ends. First of all, he is not Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis. Jimmy Graham is off the charts in terms of catch radius- taller, heavier, just as fast, with an insane vert. It's difficult to compare the two in terms of redzone targets. Vernon Davis is about the same size as Ebron, but more athletic in terms of measurables- faster, stronger, and an incredible 10 more inches on the vert.
That is not to say Ebron can't be in the same tier as them, Mike Mayock said he thought Ebron is a better prospect at this point than Davis was when he entered the NFL, and Joe Lombardi has said Ebron might be quicker than Graham.
A better assessment might be comparing the Lions' tight ends to the (former) Patriots' duo of Gronk and Hernandez. Again, I understand that no one wants to compare the two because of Hernandez's off-the-field life, but I strictly am looking at them as football players when they step onto the field. If you compare Ebron to Hernandez, Ebron is a taller, heavier version of Hernandez. I think it's relevant because I think Ebron's value comes from his versatility, athleticism, and experienced route-running. Like Hernandez, you can line up Ebron just about anywhere- outside, slot, inline TE, and could even line up in the backfield if they wanted. I think he runs routes better than anyone on this list, including WR Mike Evans and Vernon Davis when he first came into the league. Also, if you look at Gronk and Hernandez as a duo, and then compare them to the Lions' trio of TE's, the three TE set looks awfully promising (Gronk and Hernandez did run routes out of three TE sets- defenses were forced to put run personnel in, and they just switched to a passing play).
And lets not forget, the Lions' have a great backfield (both Bush and Bell are good receivers) and a 6'5" all-galaxy WR named Megatron who can play outside and in the slot. Defenses are going to have mismatches everywhere.
ERIC EBRON: 6'4", 250 lbs 40YD DASH: 4.60 sec BENCH PRESS: 24 VERT: 32" BROAD: 120"
BRANDON PETTIGREW: 6'5", 263 lbs 40YD: 4.83 sec BP: 22 VERT: 33" BROAD: 118"
JOSEPH FAURIA: 6'7", 259 lbs 40YD: 4.77 sec BP: 17 VERT: 35.5" BROAD: 120"
JIMMY GRAHAM: 6'6", 260 lbs 40YD: 4.56 VERT: 38.5 BROAD: 120
ROB GRONKOWSKI: 6'6", 258 lbs 40YD: 4.68 sec BP: 23 VERT: 33 1/2" BROAD: 119"
AARON HERNANDEZ: 6'2", 245 lbs 40YD: 4.64 sec BP: 30 VERT: 33" BROAD: 111"
VERNON DAVIS: 6' 3", 254 lbs 40YD: 4.38 sec BP: 33 VERT: 42" BROAD: 128"
MIKE EVANS: 6'5", 231 lbs 40YD: 4.53 sec BP: 12 VERT: 37"