(WXYZ) - The Detroit Lions added a dynamic tight end to their receiving corps in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday night.
Immediately after the selection, Lions GM Martin Mayhew offered up a reason for drafting offense instead of defense.
Mayhew says, "The guy’s a very special offensive weapon. I talked earlier at the league meetings about there being a certain number of elite athletes and prospects in the top 10. He’s one of those guys I was talking about."
Eric Ebron will be expected to contribute right away, and command the middle of the field in the Lions passing attack.
"He’s an impact player. He’s a difference-maker," Mayhew said following the pick. "I think you’ll see that when he starts playing. I mean, this guy is a play-maker. He’s a matchup nightmare as a tight end. He gives us something down the field. He’s a route-runner."
The next challenge for the Lions organization will be to balance a log-jam of impact tight ends on the roster.
The Lions just signed Brandon Pettigrew to a 4-year deal, and also have Joseph Fauria on the team.
Mayhew says, "Fauria is good in the red area right now. We’re working on developing the rest of his game and running routes and things. This guy (Ebron) can run routes and get open and get separation. Pettigrew can be a blocker and a receiver in the short, intermediate area. This guy (Ebron) can get downfield and make big plays for us, so we’re expecting a big impact from him.”
Eric Ebron played his college football at the University of North Carolina.
In three years at UNC, Ebron recorded 112 receptions, 1,805 yards, and 8 touchdowns.
In 2013, the speedy tight end caught 62 passes for 973 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Eric Ebron will wear jersey number 85 for the Detroit Lions next season.