So, why did the Lions use a first-round pick, No. 10 overall, on tight end Eric Ebron when they already had youngster Joseph Fauria and newly resigned Brandon Pettigrew in tow? General manager Martin Mayhew presented two important reasons when speaking about Ebron last week.
"He's a route-runner," Mayhew said of Ebron. "... This guy can run routes and get open and get separation."
Mayhew said Fauria "is good in the red zone right now," but has work to do in other areas of his game, especially route-running.
And Pettigrew has no separation speed, but he comes in handy as a blocker and safety valve. Ebron should be the most productive of these three players in time, especially if he turns into the next Jimmy Graham. But for 2014, this is a murky situation. Pettigrew's offensive role should be scaled back, but he won't be forgotten. Fauria will at least continue being a monster around the goal line, but anything more seems like gravy. Then you have Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate , and a pair of apt pass-catchers at running back. What's left for Ebron? I don't think there will be a whole lot, but his keeper value is strong. The Lions should come to regret the four-year deal with $8 million guaranteed that they gave Pettigrew in March soon enough.