The 2014 NFL Draft ended less than a week ago and it looks like the Detroit Lions were one of the teams that made a major impact on their future. Detroit made three very solid picks to open up the draft with each player appearing to be likely to hit the field during the 2014 season at one point or another. Here is the grade for each of the first three picks made by the Lions during this season’s draft.
Round 1 (Pick 10)- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Ebron is going to be the team’s starting tight end over Brandon Pettigrew especially with the kind of receiving numbers he put up with the Tar Heels. Ebron had 62 catches for 973 yards and three touchdowns in 2013 and averaged over 16 yards per catch during his college career. There were many people including myself who didn’t think that Ebron was a top-ten pick but Detroit made a solid move in this position. Grade: A
Round 2 (Pick 40)- Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
The Lions obviously saw they needed help at the position and took the 6-3, 245 pound tackling machine. He had 13 sacks for BYU in 2012 and added four more in 2013. He has drawn comparisons to Chad Greenway and was one of the safest picks according to experts in the draft. He’ll be making NFC North quarterbacks quiver for years to come with his pass rushing ability. This is a great selection for the Lions. Grade: B+
Round 3 (Pick 76)- Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
This is a pick for the future without any doubt as Dominic Raiola isn’t getting any younger at 35 years old. Swanson is a solid 6-5, 312 pound player who is going to challenge Raiola this season for the starting job and likely will take it over by the 2015 season. It was a pick that the Lions had to make. If Swanson can be as successful as Raiola has been over his entire career, then Detroit is on to something with this selection. Grade: B+
Overall, the Lions did a great job of making picks that fit the needs that they need. They get two immediate starters in Ebron and Van Noy and Swanson could easily fit into the offensive line before the 2014 season is over. The key now is making sure that all this talent turns the Lions into a true Super Bowl contender in the next year or two.