Eric Ebron is Out in Detroit: Where Do The Lions Go From Here?
Ebron is Gone
After a tenuous tenure in Detroit, former first-round selection Eric Ebron has been released from the Lions.
Ebron was selected tenth overall in the 2014 draft by a Lions team that was looking for pass-catching options. Despite the high draft capital spent on him, Ebron has largely fallen flat so far in his career. Ebron has suffered various injuries over the course of his NFL career. He has missed an average of two games per season and has missed out on lots of opportunities to develop. Along with his injuries, he has had troubles with drops when he has been on the field. Ebron has 19 recorded drops from 2014-2017, which has been the top of the team each season.
After failing to find a trade partner for him, Lions are releasing former first-round pick Eric Ebron, per source. Another TE hits the market.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2018
Ebron’s time with Detroit has not been all bad, however. He has shown some flashes of what scouts saw from his college tape. Ebron averaged over 500 receiving yards per year with the Lions. Ebron showed he could make plays for Detroit when he was on the field. He also showed he was able to connect with Stafford on some level. Ebron ranked as a top five target in each of his seasons in Detroit, often being the go-to tight end in a dynamic Lions offense.
Nevertheless, Ebron’s time in Detroit is over. While he will be remembered with a so-so player who never quite met his potential (and who was drafted over NFL Pro Bowlers Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham Jr., and Aaron Donald), it is time for both parties to move on and do what is best for them.
With this move, the Lions are now left with three tight ends on their roster. The most notable being Michael Roberts, a 2017 fourth-round pick who finished the year with four receptions and 47 yards. While Roberts could see an increased role, it is more likely that Detroit targets a Tight in the NFL Draft.
There are a couple of early round prospects that could fit for Detroit. Mike Gesicki out of Penn State had a great NFL combine performance and has emerged as one of the best tight end prospects available. The Lions could use a player like Gesicki but have other needs that need to be addressed before this. Detroit would be wise to take another tight end prospect at some point in the draft. While they won’t likely spend an early pick on one (like they did with Ebron), there is value at the position this year and can get a solid player later.
Realistically the Lions will do a mixture of both. They need a veteran presence at the tight end position and have the cap space to make a move. Detroit will also be in the market for tight end prospects but will take one on day two or three. Both additions will help the Lions move on in the post-Ebron era.
For all that has been said about Ebron, we still have to remember that he is still a young player. At 24, he has a long career ahead of him and has a chance to hit his potential. Ebron will hit free agency at a rough time, however, a most of the tight end-needy teams have already signed players and the market is a little dry. That being said Ebron will still be in high demand. Some potential spots for Ebron could be teams like the Broncos, 49ers, Dolphins or Texans. They have some need at the tight end position.
Though Ebron’s time in Detroit did not ultimately work out, he was a solid player in spurts. This move will be best for both the Lions and Ebron as they can go their separate ways and do what is best for them. Ebron leaves Detroit as a top-five tight end in receptions and will look to make a similar impact in his next spot.