Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson will face Eric Ebron-level criticism
The Detroit Lions made Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson their first-round selection Now the rookie faces an uphill battle to win over fans due to Eric Ebron.
After the debacle that was the four-year run by former first-round selection Eric Ebron, who was finally released early last year, the Detroit Lions figured to be the last team who would elect to draft a tight end on Thursday night. But with the eighth overall selection in the first round, that’s exactly what the Lions did.
Despite some other big names left on the board, Detroit opted to use their highest selection since 2013 on Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. And the choice will likely be hotly debated for years to come.
The obvious question right now is did the Lions make the right pick? Although that’s impossible to answer right now, if Hockenson becomes anything less than a Pro Bowl-level player, he’ll be a disappointment simply because of his high draft status.
Just ask Ebron. Despite posting average numbers throughout his tenure in Detroit, and a steady increase of production through his first three seasons, the 10th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft was labeled a bust almost immediately. That was due in large part to his lofty draft status plus the success of the whopping seven Pro Bowlers that were drafted directly after him.
Those players being Tennessee Titans’ offensive tackle Taylor Lewan at No. 11, Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at No. 12 (originally drafted by the New York Giants), Los Angeles Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald at No. 13, Chicago Bears’ cornerback Kyle Fuller at No. 14, Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier at No. 15, Dallas Cowboys’ guard Zack Martin at No. 16 and the New York Jets’ linebacker C.J. Mosley at No. 17 (originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.
In that same way, Hockenson will be judged not only by his play on the field but by the performance of those prospects the Lions’ chose to ignore in order to draft yet another first-round tight end. Players like Buffalo Bills’ defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Devin Bush, Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams and Green Bay Packers defensive end Rashan Gary. All of whom were taken directly after Hockenson and all speculated as possible selections by the Motor City.
Although T.J. Hockenson and Eric Ebron are totally different kinds of tight ends, they share the same lofty draft status. And in Detroit, the rookie faces a stiff uphill battle to change the hearts and minds of Detroit Lions’ fans who suffered through Ebron’s tenuous tenure in Motown.