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Ebron ready to hit the field with Fells and Roberts

When it came to tight end production for the Detroit Lions in 2016, Eric Ebron was about the extent of it.

He caught 61 passes for 711 yards, ranking in the top 10 for both at the position, but those numbers were disproportionately large compared to the other four tight ends on Detroit's roster last season, who combined to catch just six passes for 26 yards.

Ebron has missed a total of eight games due to injury his first three years, and when he's been out, the Lions have gotten very little production from the position. That was particularly the case last season, when Ebron missed a three-game stretch in October.

So, Lions general manager Bob Quinn got Ebron some help this offseason. He signed veteran Darren Fells in free agency and drafted Toledo's Michael Roberts in the fourth round of last month's draft.

Not only do those signings provide insurance for any Ebron injury moving forward, but Ebron is hoping that what Fells and Roberts bring to the table will also better complement his game.

Both Fells and Roberts are bigger, more in-line type of tight ends. Fells was graded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL last season.

"Fells is really smart, as far as knowing his coverages, knowing his fronts, knowing what he has to do, he's picked up everything pretty quickly," Ebron said.

"I just keep telling him he has to put some WD-40 on his back because it's stiff. That's my guy. I make jokes about everybody. He's really good, though. He's definitely going to be an asset to us offensively from the tight end position. I look forward to working with him."

Ebron's strengths are more as a receiver and down-the-field threat -- Not so much as a blocker. Fells adds that dimension to this offense.

Roberts, who is a little bigger and a little slower than Ebron, caught 16 touchdowns last season, second among all MAC pass catchers, and he had the biggest hands of any player in the draft.

"So far, Mike, I just love his attitude as far as what you should bring to the football field," Ebron said of Roberts. "He has that go-getter attitude from what I've seen and talking with him and texting him. OTAs is around the corner and we'll just go from there."

OTAs, which start in Allen Park next week, will be the first time Ebron, Fells and Roberts are on the field together against the defense. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

"I can't wait until OTAs to find out exactly (what the addition of Fells and Roberts will mean for my game), but I think it's going to play a significant role to allow me to do the things I'm best at," Ebron said.

"I hope for it. We hope for it. We'll just go based off what happens in OTAs and what Jim Bob (Cooter) has in store for us."

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