Free agency is right around the corner and the NFL Draft isn’t far behind. It’s been over two months since the Detroit Lions have played a football game, and we’ve already exhausted every single inch of their current roster.
For whatever reason, however, there has been a lot of talk recently about the Lions’ situation at tight end. Detroit doesn’t have many options behind their current starting tight end, Eric Ebron, which is why I listed tight end as the Lions’ No. 2 offensive need going into free agency. Even Ebron’s future is tenuous at this point, as he only has one year remaining on his contract, unless the Lions pick up his fifth-year option.
While the Lions could certainly fill the need in free agency, there just so happens to be a multi-faceted tight end prospect that many experts believe will be there when the Lions are picking at 21 overall: Alabama’s O.J. Howard. SB Nation’s Dan Kadar mocked Howard to the Lions in his draft from less than two weeks ago.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Would you approve of the Lions using their first round pick on a tight end like O.J. Howard?
My answer: Not really. I wouldn’t be staunchly against it, but I wouldn’t be happy either. Obviously a lot depends on who is still on the board, but there will almost certainly be several worth defensive options out there, and the Lions need to prioritize that regardless of what happens in free agency.
All that being said, Howard does at least make a little sense. Detroit has no depth behind Ebron and Howard would provide insurance if the Lions want to move on from Ebron down the road.
Many Lions fans will be understandably skeptical of using another first-round pick on the tight end position, but spending the 21st overall pick on the position makes more sense in terms of value than using the 10th, like they did with Ebron in 2014.
However, the Lions defense is an absolute mess. The only reason they should be thinking about Howard or any other top TE prospect is if all of their favorite defensive players are gone by the time they’re on the clock. That strikes me as highly unlikely, so I vote no.