One of the more remarkable things about the Detroit Lions' 11-5 season is that they had so much success despite getting so little out of their 2014 draft class. Travis Swanson really had the most productive season of the Lions' 2014 draft picks, and he merely started five games. Eric Ebron and Kyle Van Noy didn't do a ton, and Nevin Lawson, Larry Webster, Caraun Reid and TJ Jones did almost nothing. And don't even get me started on Nate Freese.
From an immediate impact standpoint, the Lions' 2014 draft class was a big disappointment. It's far too early to label any of the players still on the team a bust considering they've only been in the NFL for one season, though. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said that you really need three years to evaluate a draft class, and he blamed injuries for the lack of contributions from the 2014 draft picks.
"It would have been nice to have those guys produce better. I do think we draft for the future of the franchise, as I've mentioned to you guys before. I think the best time to evaluate a class is three years into it, so it's hard to really evaluate this year's class.
"As you mentioned, we didn't get major contributions from this class, but a lot of it was, I think, due to a lot of injuries. (Eric) Ebron had a hamstring midseason, (Kyle) Van Noy had a sports hernia that he had operated on early in the year, Travis Swanson had a knee injury at the end. Nevin Lawson was injured at well, TJ Jones was injured also. I think that had an impact on what those guys could offer us this year, but I do believe in all of those guys in terms of having the opportunity to make our team and to compete for us next year on the field."
We'll take a closer look at the Lions' 2014 draft class in the coming weeks, but I certainly hope that injuries were the main issue here. This draft class had a lot of promise coming into the season, but it's definitely been a big disappointment so far.