Detroit Lions released tight end Eric Ebron last Wednesday. It’s never easy releasing a former first round draft pick. But the Lions made the right call.
First, he was being traded. Hold on. The Detroit Lions are not going to trade tight end Eric Ebron. Then he was being traded again. But, in the end, no trade partner was found and general manager Bob Quinn gave Ebron his walking papers and released him last Wednesday.
What does it mean for the Lions? It means they freed up over $8 million. It also means there is a hole to fill on the roster. Lions fans need to be patient, as some have second guessed the team’s direction.
For starters, Ebron was never going to net a Pro Bowl player in return or even a high draft selection in the upcoming draft. Nothing about his production ever indicated that was even possible.
For his career, Ebron has been a mediocre player at best. Unfortunately, for the Lions, his voice was often louder than his on-field production. Eric never developed into a go-to dependable piece in the Lions’ offense. He also struggled catching the ball consistently.
Ebron played well in spurts, but not for any significant amount of time or even for 3-4 games in a row. That is part of the frustration Lions fans have had. I suspect this is part of the reason Quinn released him.
It is difficult to predict how Bob Quinn will address a new tight end in free agency or the 2018 NFL draft. One thing seems certain, Quinn believes there is a better option out there. I tend to agree with him.
The 24-year old Ebron will move on and continue his career elsewhere. He was scheduled to meet the Carolina Panthers on Friday. In my opinion he will not live up to his first round draft status. One thing is clear. For both parties the separation was needed.
A name to watch in the 2018 draft is South Carolina universities Hayden Hurst. At 6’ 4” he’s a huge target at tight end. He ran a 4.67 in his 40 time and is widely considered to be the top tight end in the draft. If he’s there when the Lions pick at #20 that could be the pick. Otherwise Quinn will have to become creative.
Just where the Detroit Lions go for tight end help is anyone not named Bob Quinn’s guess. But given his past work Quinn has a replacement already in mind and in the end that’s the one person who matters.