July 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Lions stay true to their word in drafting Eric Ebron

Calvin Johnson and Eric Ebron are pictured at a Lions OTA practice in June. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

A few weeks before this year’s NFL draft, Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported that Eric Ebron told a team he thought the Lions would draft him.

At the time, it seemed like typical pre-draft speculation, but as it turns out, the Lions conveyed that message to the former North Carolina tight end during his pre-draft visit.

“They was like, ‘If you’re there at the 10th pick, we’re going to take you,’” Ebron said last week at the NFL Rookie Symposium. “I was like, ‘Come on man, you ain’t got to feed me no lies.’”

Ebron was right to question the coach or executive who told him the Lions would pick him because there was a lot that could’ve happened between his April 14 visit and the May 8 draft.

The Lions could’ve traded up to take former Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. Neither ended up falling to No. 10, but former Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert and UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr may have been options, too. One of the nine teams ahead of the Lions could've taken Ebron, too.

But ultimately, the Lions stayed at No. 10 and kept their word to Ebron.

“I was like, ‘Come on, we’re all grown men. You ain’t got to tell me nothing I want to hear. Just tell me the truth,’” Ebron said. “Sure enough, I was sitting there, and they took me.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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