As soon as the Detroit Lions drafted Eric Ebron in the first round, comparisons were made to Jimmy Graham. Those comparisons were based on the fact that Ebron and Graham are both tight ends who can play out wide and in the slot, and they were also based on the notion that Ebron will be filling a Graham type of role in the Lions' new offense.
Simply from a talent standpoint, it's not fair to Ebron to compare him to Graham at this point in time. Graham is arguably the best tight end in the NFL right now, and he caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Those are really Calvin Johnson-type numbers, especially for someone who is technically a tight end.
The Lions would certainly like for Ebron to get to a Graham type of level at some point, but it's unrealistic to expect that to happen during his rookie season. It's going to take some time for Ebron to reach his potential, and it's not like he's going to be the No. 1 or even No. 2 option in the Lions' passing game. Even so, Graham is probably the best person Ebron could study to prepare for his role in Detroit, and the two actually recently had a chance to talk.
Good Talk With @TheJimmyGraham Can't Wait To Learn The Game More.— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) June 20, 2014
It's unclear what they talked about or who put them in contact, but it wouldn't be surprising if current Lions offensive coordinator and former New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi had something to do with it. Lombardi is basing his offense in Detroit largely on what the Saints do in New Orleans, so getting advice from Graham could be quite valuable for Ebron as he transitions to the NFL.