Adapting Eric Ebron shows athleticism

Posted Jun 12, 2014

Rookie tight end Eric Ebron's size, speed and versatility got him here and it's starting to show in practice.

Eric Ebron admits his head was spinning a bit when he first started taking part in OTA practices with the veterans.

Eric EbronTE Eric Ebron (Photo: Detroit Lions)

It’s understandable. Ebron went from working out and trying to sell himself via the NFL Draft, to trying to learn a complicated offense under Joe Lombardi and fit into a new locker room all at once.

It’s a tough transition for rookies.

He's a few weeks in now, and says things are finally starting to slow down a bit. It showed Wednesday, as he flashed his athleticism in practice with a couple nice catches, including a sliding grab in front of safety Isa Abdul-Quddus.

“Figuring out the offense, you’ll never be 100 percent, but at least knowing what to do, where to line up and where to be, now I can do the things that got me here,” Ebron said after practice.

What got him here was his size, speed and versatility, all of which is becoming more visible every subsequent practice.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “I’ve been earning a lot more respect. I’ve started to produce a lot more and I’m starting to get a lot more reps.”

The Lions made Ebron the No. 10 overall pick after he set an ACC and University of North Carolina single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 973 (passing Vernon Davis, who had 871). He established school records for single-season receptions (62), career receptions (112) and career receiving yards (1,805) for a tight end.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine and possesses terrific run-after-catch potential in Detroit’s offense. The Lions plan to unleash him as a multi-purpose weapon in their passing game.

The quicker he can just learn to play and not have to think about route concepts and alignments, the better off he and the Lions will be.

“He’s super athletic and can get in and out of cuts,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said of Ebron. “But he’s raw, he’s young. He’s got to learn the NFL game like every rookie does, but there are definitely flashes of big-time talent.”