Having a new tight end like Eric Ebron will force the Detroit Lions to choose wisely if they want to be in it to win it. Not just your typical tight end, he is a quick receiver who is large and physical, whose position just happens to be tight end. Will Detroit go regular defense or four linemen and four linebackers? Staying on regular defense in order to counter two tight ends would be the best on first downs, according to analysts. Along with Ebron, Detroit acquired three players for the offense, three on defense and a kicker in the 2014 Draft. They are, Kyle Van Noy, Offensive Lineman(OL) Travis Swanson, Center (C) Nevin Lawson, Corner Back (CB), Larry Webster, Defensive End (DE) Caraun Reid, Defensive Tackle (DT) TJ Jones, Wide Receiver (WR) and Nate Freese, Kicker (K).
Taking a look at some of these picks may show where these guys can take this team. According to their coach, Defensive End Larry Webster will play on the open side of the offensive line, contributing to the teams defensive line. Under the guidance of former coach Jim Swartz, the Detroit Lions rarely moved around their defensive ends during games, that will change under the tutelage of new coach Martin Mayhew. Kyle Van Noy has talent and will be utilized for the blitz, and working it from the closed side of the formation. He is expected to be on the starting line up with Tullock and Levy, and that could be a triple threat. Although signing a veteran to replace the loss of long time kicker Jason Hanson was on the agenda, the Detroit Lions have decided to go young in an effort to stay in it and win it this season. The acquisition of 15-year veteran kicker David Akers did not work out quite as planned. His performance was at just 79 percent last season, which is not what the team expected. In 21 seasons, Hanson finished under 80 percent just six times, so this was somewhat of a disappointment and on Mayhews mind during the draft. Seventh round pick, Nate Freese, is just 23 and he is who the Lions are looking at to fill the void, however, he will be competing with Tavecchio who is also 23 for the job of kicker.
The Lions signed 11 free agents as well as their draft picks, and with a 90 man roster they had to make room and released the following players. Gone are Cody Wilson (WR), Jon Morgan (LB), Carlin Isles (WR), John Potter (K), Matt Veldman (TE), safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and corner back Nate Ness. The 11 that were picked up included a quarterback out of Missouri, corner backs, linebackers and more. Seeing as the Lions have been the front-runner in the league for dropped passes, Mayhew was looking for more than just speed in his receivers. The coach stated he was looking for players with “good hands” that will be able to hang onto the ball this season. That will be the key to winning games and the Detroit Lions are looking to be in it for the long haul, and Mayhew is looking to make a long needed difference to this struggling team.
Commentary by Kristi Cereska
Guardian LV Sports Writer for the Detroit Lions