The Case for Eric Ebron Part 2: Film Review

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Dec 7, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (87) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

To be a complete tight end you need to be able to block. Coming into the draft blocking was one of the biggest knocks on Eric Ebron. He was rarely asked to block and struggled when he did. However, he had a very successful first year blocking for the Detroit Lions. He had a +.03 total blocking grade (Pass, Screen, and Run blocking) which doesn’t sound amazing but is a great start for the rookie tight end and is much better than blocking specialist Brandon Pettigrew’s horrid -8.0 rating. He showed a huge improvement as the season went along and had some really good blocks to help open up the run game.

Strength at Point of Attack

Ebron is a huge player and is very stout at the point of attack. He doesn’t lose any ground against Sam Acho and seals the edge to allow Joique Bell a lane to run through. He displays great hand technique and keeps the defender from getting any hold on him with his long frame. He controls him with a strong left arm and pushes him outside making Acho a non factor on the run play. Ebron can win as an inline tight end in the blocking game which is a vital part of being a complete tight end.

Poor Pad Level

Ebron maintained proper pad level for most of his blocking plays but had some lapses in concentration that led to some miscues in the run game. Above is a strange play, Ebron tries to block the defender to the outside like the play above. Joique has other plans and tries to bounce the run outside only to be tackled for a loss. Ebron gets blown up at the point of attack due to some really poor technique. He cheats inside and doesn’t get a good hand on the defender allowing himself to be thrown aside. If he maintained proper pad level and kept his assignment Joique could of been able to hit the proper hole and a negative play could of been avoided.

Run Blocking 

The play above is mostly an outlier, Ebron normally maintains proper pad level and is a force to move in the run game. He anchors well and is a persistent blocker. In the vine above, the first play shows a run up the middle. Ebron turns his assignment to take him out of the play immediately and then maintains his block to stop him from pursuing the play. He shows off his play strength in this block, the blocker has no chance on the play from the beginning. On the second run, Ebron has a backside assignment and again maintains and controls his defender to take him out of the play.

Fullback Pass Protection

On this play the Lions, run a play action fake and assign Ebron to pull and block the blitzing linebacker coming off the right edge. He locates the blitzing linebacker and does a great job shuffling his feet to get in position to seal the edge forcing the linebacker outside. This give Stafford the necessary time to deliver a strike to Golden Tate and sets up a big play for the Lions. This might not look like much of block, but Ebron did everything possible to give Stafford the time he needed and saved him from a huge hit.

Downfield Blocking

One of Ebron’s biggest assets is his downfield blocking ability on screen passes. He has the athleticism to locate and seal defenders from the play. Above is a very memorable play from last season, Golden Tate caught a screen pass in the backfield and Ebron sprinted out as the lead blocker. He throws his defender to the ground like a rag doll and seals the edge giving Tate a lane to cut through straight into the endzone.

Now for the moment you all have been waiting for…

Next: Hands (Drops)