LIONS INSIDER

Eric Ebron sets sights on rookie of the year

Posted Jun 15, 2014

The Lions' top draft choice says his goal is to win rookie of the year, and he says his coaches and teammates believe he can do it as well.

The Detroit Lions have big plans for Eric Ebron this upcoming season, and it appears the rookie tight end has high expectations for himself too.

“My goals are set high,” Ebron said Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, where he’s the grand marshal for the Quicken Loans 400. “I’ve never set goals that were too low or too easy to achieve. I’m going to try to go for rookie of the year. If it happens, it happens. I believe I can do it.”

Ebron, who just signed his rookie contract Friday after the Lions selected him No. 10 overall in May, is expected to play a big role in Joe Lombardi’s offense.

What he gives the Lions is a versatile on-the-line tight end, as well as a big target in the slot and on the outside for quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Eric EbronTE Eric Ebron (Photo: Detroit Lions)

“Matt (Stafford) believes I can do it, coaches believe I can do it,” Ebron said. “My coach right now, he’s saying, ‘Our goal right now is to make it to the Pro Bowl our rookie year.’ I was like, ‘Well, your goal is my goal, so we’re going to try to do it as fast and as quickly and make it be known as fast as we can.”

In the process, Ebron is hoping his unique blend of size, speed and athleticism will force defenses to take notice and free up teammates like Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Reggie Bush and others.

“Hopefully free up Calvin Johnson a bit to make it easier for Matt to distribute the ball a little bit more and just do whatever I can to help us win,” he said.

Ebron admitted this week it was an adjustment learning the Lions' play-intensive playbook, but with 10 OTA practices now under his belt -- along with six days of minicamp practices (three at rookie minicamp) -- he also told reporters he was starting to feel comfortable in the offense.

It showed on the practice field during the Lions’ mandatory minicamp this last week, as Ebron made a number of nice plays.

Lombardi has brought over a lot of concepts from the New Orleans Saints playbook to Detroit and Ebron is expected to play a similar role in it as Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham.

Ebron is going to get opportunities to make plays in this offense, and his goal of winning rookie of the year certainly doesn’t seem unattainable if the offense plays to its capabilities.