The Detroit Lions 2019 draft class has created shock and awe among their fans, but the question is; did they make themselves better?
The 2019 NFL draft has come and gone and the Detroit Lions have once again mystified their fans with their strategy and it all started with their controversial first pick, tight end T.J. Hockenson.
The Lions entered the draft with a few specific needs we all expected to be addressed earlier rather than later. Needs like the offensive line, cornerback, defensive end, receiver, and tight end.
Well, at least they addressed tight end early.
Now for those who don’t like this pick, it’s isn’t even close to being the worst this franchise has ever made. Unfortunately, there are many we could cite as being particularly bad, but the first one that pops into my mind is 1983. The Lions selected fullback James Jones with the 13th overall pick. They could have used it to select either Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly who went to Buffalo with the very next pick (somewhat like Ed Oliver this year, right?) or another Hall of Fame passer, Dan Marino who dropped to the Miami Dolphins at pick number 27.
Considering the quarterback woes those Lions teams had, that was a particularly galling decision. Especially for a fullback.
Now in all fairness to James Jones, he was a versatile and productive player for that position, but he wasn’t the game-breaker they could have had in Kelly or Marino that I believe would have changed the Lions fortunes dramatically.
This year general manager Bob Quinn went where many Lions fans feared he would go; tight end. But here’s the thing about that pick; T.J. Hockenson is not Eric Ebron. Not even close.
Ebron was a receiving tight end who had trouble catching the ball consistently. Hockenson is the complete package who can block, run terrific routes and catch the ball. Yeah, Hockenson had one drop last season. Generally speaking, Ebron drops at least one every game.
Ebron was immature with questionable focus and work ethic. Hockenson is all business. No one else on the Lions roster will outwork him. While there will be a learning curve for Hockenson, expect a very different outcome than the Lions had with Ebron.