Once a huge trade candidate among many experts, the Detroit Lions have unleashed tight end Eric Ebron. He has completely turned his game around.
Don’t look now, but Eric Ebron is amongst the top at his position. Pro Football Focus has Ebron ranked 16th out of 72 qualifying tight ends. On the Detroit Lions, he is the highest graded TE with a modest 73.9 grade.
Considering how rough Ebron was to begin the first half of the year, he has since blossomed into a true difference maker on offense. In his first eight games, Ebron had a catch rate of 51.4 percent. That number has improved to 81 percent in the past six games.
Not many expected this kind of turnaround. Should this flip-of-the-switch even happen in the first place? No.
A former 10th overall pick, Ebron is constantly reminded of his draft status. Just because he is a first rounder, doesn’t mean he’s perfect.
At North Carolina, Ebron dropped the ball far more than one should, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone it has occurred with the Lions. If the former Tar Heel wasn’t “overdrafted”, Ebron wouldn’t be regarded as a bust and trolled as frequently as he is.
As frustrating as it is dealing with a player so hot and cold, Ebron is worth the headaches at times. There aren’t many tight ends like him and the Lions clearly realize that.
Already improving his receiving touchdown total from one in 2016, Ebron has three with two games still to go. Last season, he also chipped in a rushing touchdown.
Speaking of improvement, his ability to contribute as a blocker has drastically improved. Regarded as a lousy blocker, 2017 holds a much different narrative for Ebron. His blocking has gone from sad to serviceable and that will only continue to get better.
Ebron will probably fall short of his 711 receiving yards (plus one yard rushing) from the year previous but that has yet to be determined. 482 yards isn’t too shabby given the other mouths that need feeding in the Lions prevalent passing attack.
Availability is something that has always been a concern. In 2017, Ebron hasn’t missed a game, marking the first time in his career he’s projected to play beyond 14 games in a single season.
Another first in Ebron’s career, a fumble. Like him or not, ball security has never been an issue and up until the Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ebron has never coughed up the ball. The fumble resulted in a turnover.
If you sit back and look at the totality of the situation, weigh the pros and cons, all signs point to Ebron being a good pick and a fit to stay with this franchise.
People can’t blame Ebron that the Lions chose him over New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. All of the frustrations surrounding Ebron have really skewed football fans’ opinion of him and it isn’t fair. There is a lot more to like about him than what is projected.
The fifth year option is still on the table as much as it is off. Barring a huge disaster, Ebron looks like a $8.5 million dollar man heading into 2018.