The Detroit Lions added some good pieces to their roster through the draft, but are any of them good enough to win rookie of the year?
The candidates? First round pick Eric Ebron and second round pick Kyle Van Noy. Let’s make the case.
Ebron has all the tools to be a dynamic tight end in the Lions offense, but tight ends don’t usually produce in a big way in yeat one. Tight end can be tricky to learn, because they are asked to block like a lineman and catch and run routes like a wide receiver.
Luckily for Ebron, he will be asked to play more like a receiver than a tight end early on and he will have the benefit of having Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Reggie Bush, and Matthew Stafford all on the field at the same time. Defenses can only do so much.
On the other hand, Playing with such a group of offensive talent means opportunities may be limited. Plus, the Lions already have a solid red zone package with Joe Fauria, Brandon Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson, so it could be difficult to find the end zone.
Ebron is already a great route runner and a fluid athlete. If he can decrease his high drop percentages he can maximize his opportunities to put together a solid season.
Kyle Van Noy
Kyle Van Noy is a blitzing linebacker with a knack for creating turnovers. He has the benefit of playing behind one of the most feared defensive lines in the NFL and along side a veteran linebacker corps. That puts Van Noy in prime position to make his presence felt early and often.
Another factor that sets Van Noy up for success is Teryl Austin’s defense, which will feature multiple defensive fronts. Playing as an attacking 3-4 linebacker should help him rack up the sacks and the variety of looks they will give offenses will help when he drops back into coverage. The Lions want to attack on defense more than they have in the past and Van Noy was drafted to be that attacker from the linebacker position.
I think Ebron has a solid rookie season, but do I think he can have a good enough season to beat out the rookie quarterbacks and a deep class of wide receivers? Maybe not, especially if Johnny Manziel finds himself in a starting role. The Lions player who has the best chance to win a rookie of the year award is Van Noy, who has the potential to find himself with a big role in an aggressive defense.
What do you think Lions fans?