Eric Ebron Gets Love as a 2015 Breakout Candidate


A controversial draft pick with Detroit Lions fans, Eric Ebron did nothing during his rookie season to ease the fears of those upset with his selection last Spring. It took only a matter of weeks for the “bust” label to be brought up by some, but the national opinion seems to remain high.

A six-person panel of writers was recently asked for their year two breakout candidates next season and three mentioned Ebron.

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From Bucky Brooks:

"Eric Ebron will be a breakout player to watch in 2015. The Detroit Lions didn’t get a lot of production — or impact plays — from the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but I expect him to be a significant contributor this season. Young players typically make the biggest jump in development between their first and second seasons. They are finally comfortable with their role in the system; they have had time to acclimate to the speed and intensity of the pro game. Moreover, coaches have a better understanding of a young player’s game, allowing them to tailor the game plan around strengths.Thus, the Lions should expect to see a more comfortable Ebron snag 50-plus catches and emerge as a red-zone threat, with opponents intent on taking away Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. If Ebron puts in the work during the offseason to develop a few moves to shake free from man coverage, he could live up to the lofty expectations that preceded his arrival as a highly touted draft pick."

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With the First Pick

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  • Not only was the coaching staff getting used to Ebron as a rookie, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was a rookie in his own right as a first time offensive coordinator. If Ebron and Lombardi can both take a year two jump, the results could be special.

    From Charley Casserly:

    "Another player I expect to significantly improve is Lions TE Eric Ebron, who managed just 25 catches and one touchdown in 2014. This is coordinator Joe Lombardi’s second year running the offense in Detroit, something that should benefit everyone on the unit — but particularly Ebron. Generally speaking, tight ends make the biggest jump during Year 2 in the NFL. Most TEs don’t receive a lot of direct tutelage in college because of the smaller coaching staffs at that level, as compared to the NFL."

    Ebron was burdened with comparisons to Jimmy Graham from the get-go but any comparison was premature. Graham is a great example of the jump from year one to two, going from 31 catches for 356 yards as a rookie in 2010 to 99 catches for 1,310 yards in year two. Now five years in, Graham’s career highs for catches and yards in a season came during that 2011 sophomore season.

    From Chase Goodbread:

    "Eric Ebron’s first season in the NFL was the very definition of underwhelming. With just 25 catches and one touchdown, his absence from the Detroit Lions’ offense was more noticeable than his contribution to it. Entering Year 2, more is expected of the No. 10 overall pick from last year, as it should be.General manager Martin Mayhew noted in February that Ebron’s play trended upward over the latter part of last season, and the tight end will look to carry that momentum — along with a lot more footballs — in 2015."

    The supposed upward trend isn’t reflected in Ebron’s game grades from Pro Football Focus. Whether any upward trend was real or imagined, the pressure is on Ebron to show marked improvement in year two.

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