Look, I'm just as surprised as the next guy about this pick. With guys like Odell Beckham Jr., Aaron Donald, and the top safeties still on the board, this pick was a shocker. But I think it's a little ridiculous that some of us are so quick to say "Same Old Lions" already. I know this will happen every year. We will always have the naysayers this time of year, and I get it. This organization has been a hard one to trust. But let's wait to see how this plays out with our new coaching staff. Obviously, our current staff is very high on Ebron, and they believe he will see the field a significant portion of next year, or else they wouldn't have selected him 10th overall. HC Jim Caldwell and OC Joe Lombardi have already explained the pick, and believe that they can use Pettigrew and Ebron on the field at the same time.
Caldwell said it'll be hard for defenses to match up with Pettigrew and Ebron on the field together— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) May 9, 2014
Some feel like this is a wasted pick because of Pettigrew's recent contract. I don't think that is the case at all.
Ebron lined up as a slot receiver 71.74% of his snaps at UNC last year. That is a pretty significant percentage for a TE. It won't be hard at all for the Lions to have Pettigrew and Ebron on the field at the same time. And if that isn't enough to convince you, let's not forget that Pettigrew's contract is front-loaded in terms of guaranteed money. That would give the Lions an option to dump him after 2 years without losing a whole lot of dead money.
Another concern with Ebron has been his high drop% last year. I can't stress enough how overblown this is. First of all, we're relying too heavily on one year of production. If we didn't see these metric articles come out this year, I don't think we'd see people so attached to a single metric like drop %. It does tell part of the story, but what you need to consider is how did the drops occur? Was it a result of a bad pass? Was it a concentration drop?
When you watch Ebron on tape, there are some concentration drops. But there are also a lot of poorly thrown balls, and he had 2 different QB's throwing to him all year. Both were pretty erratic with their throws.
This play is most likely considered a drop, but can you really fault Ebron here? This is a poorly thrown ball by the QB, and Ebron almost makes a spectacular one-handed grab anyway. Instead, he takes a big hit from the deep safety.
Ebron is a very athletic TE, and I don't really understand the comparisons to Pettigrew. Ebron ran a 4.60 compared to Pettigrew's 4.80. Coming out of college, Ebron is a way better pass catching TE prospect than Pettigrew was. Pettigrew is a better blocker, and they will have entirely different roles going forward. The Pettigrew contract has absolutely nothing to do with this pick.
And for those that are worried about keeping 4 TE's.
Lombardi: "There's nothing to say we won't have three tight ends on the field at times."— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) May 9, 2014
Ebron is a special player, and I wouldn't even label him as a TE. He's more of a WR/TE. Give the kid a chance, he's going to do special things in this offense.