Dec 7, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) leaps over Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Ebron has been a hotly debated draft pick ever since the Detroit Lions took him with the 10th pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
The problem is very few of these people writing about Ebron have sat down and done a film review of him, most just use his “drop problems” and low rookie output as evidence. Yes Eric Ebron had a high drop rate last season(8.5% per sportingcharts.com), but he only had four drops that I will highlight later in the article.
Most of these drops seemed to be caused by lapses in concentration, he made numerous difficult catches last season and has very sound technique catching the ball . Another problem with this theory is that rookie TE’s have a history of struggling in their rookie year.
The tweet and chart below compare Ebron’s production in both areas last year to some of the best tight ends to play in the NFL. The major media outlets and Lions fans had way too high of expectations for Ebron coming into his rookie year.
This is a common theme in the NFL, rookies are labeled busts earlier than ever because of the success of a few players in their rookie years. These players are the outliers and shouldn’t be used as evidence against other rookies.
However, there were still some good signs last year from Eric Ebron. He made some tough catches and displayed some pretty impressive route running ability. He also established himself as a yard after the catch weapon and showed off his athletic ability.
He has had an incredibly good offseason, he put on 11 pounds of muscle and according to his trainer Jon Porter (interviewed by Ashley Dunkak from CBS Local Detroit here) cut his body fat percentage from 15.8% down to 9%. He has dedicated his body to the game and a number of his teammates and coaches have taken note. Its hard to find an interview where players aren’t throwing compliments Ebron’s way. When SideLionReport’s own Mike Payton asked Golden Tate who he thought was most primed for a breakout season he said(check out the rest of the interview here if you haven’t already):
"“I think we’re all looking at the young fella, number 85. He’s on the cusp to come in and ball out. I think he has a lot of pressure on his back. But with Calvin and my self I think he can do that. i think he’s a fantastic player, has speed, agility and he has great hands. He just has to trust himself and understand the offense and understand what he’s doing. I think if he does that, we’ll all reap the benefits and he’ll have the year everyone expects him to have, and we’ll be alright.”"
He also has been recently spotted working out with Matthew Stafford and other skill position players in Atlanta this offseason. He definitely has been putting in the work this offseason, soon we will see if it has paid off.
Next: Route Running