There’s an old saying that goes “work smarter, not harder.” It is apparently a lost thought when it comes to Detroit Lions general manager, Martin Mayhew. The Lions are set to host top flight draft prospect tight end Eric Ebron for a pre-draft visit. This makes no sense after the Lions and Mayhew targeted their former first round pick Brandon Pettigrew as a key to their offense and signed him to a four year deal last week, solidifying him as the Lions starting tight end for at least the next few years.
Detroit has to many holes in it’s secondary to even consider a luxury pick of Ebron. Mayhew has to move away from the “best player available” draft philosophy that has burdened the Lions with salary cap issues. While it is great to have both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley at the defensive tackle positions, Fairley was absolutely a luxury pick at the time and part of the reason the Lions are now suffering at other positions. If the Lions continue with this theory they will continue to be an also ran team. Their first and likely second round picks need to be immediate impact players.
Ebron would have been a solid first round pick if the Lions hadn’t already signed Pettigrew to a long term deal. His speed and skill set would have made him a great compliment to a Lions offense that already featured stars Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and the newly inked Golden Tate as targets for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Ebron would have fit the mold of offensive coordinator’s former top option in New Orleans, Jimmy Graham. Instead the Lions went with Mayhew’s man, Pettigrew and his supposed dual ability to block and catch the ball. It’s a decision that salary cap restrictions will require them to live with for at least a few years.
Mayhew should be extensively scouting cornerbacks, safeties, linebackers and defensive ends for the 10th overall pick. Ebron will be gone by the second round, and even the second round would be a stretch as a spot for the Lions to consider a luxury pick. They believe they are going to the playoffs, and so they must address their needs and dump the best player available theory. One thing the Lions have proved; it doesn’t work.