By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The Detroit Lions did not take tight end Eric Ebron by surprise when they selected him with the 10th overall pick of the NFL draft. He did not know for sure it would happen, but he had a feeling the odds were good he would end up in Detroit.
“I had a pretty good idea of which teams had interest in me,” Ebron said. “I knew that the Lions were one of them, that I had really high interest … Just the fact that the much love and support they showed for me in my game and the things that I’m able to do to help them out. That was pretty much it. Just the great connection I had with Coach [Ron] Prince and the things that he was telling me, and I just relied on him.”
Ebron said the Lions have told him they plan to use him much in the same way the New Orleans Saints use Jimmy Graham, a tight end who often lines up as a wide receiver. However, Ebron evidently feels the two are rather different players.
“I don’t have no similarities to Jimmy Graham,” Ebron said. “He’s a different type of tight end than I am … Now that I’m in the NFL, I believe I don’t try to imitate anyone. I try to be my own person.”
While scouting reports on Ebron run largely positive, particularly with regard to his ability to create mismatches, some have pointed to his drops as a problem. Lions fans are especially sensitive to this issue because Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew struggled mightily with drops in 2012. Head coach Jim Caldwell said he believes the problem will work itself out and that coaches can help fix it. Ebron also dismissed the drops.
“It’s a work in progress,” Ebron said. “Not everybody catches every pass. Jerry Rice never caught every pass. It’s just something that you’ve got to work on consistently. I progressed. I went from having a lot of drops my sophomore year to very, very, very little drops my junior year. It’s just a continuous work in progress.”
The young tight end looks forward to working with the likes of quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, and the others on the Lions offense. In 2013 Detroit ranked third in the NFL with 280.1 passing yards per game. Ebron sounded optimistic about the result of adding him to that combination.
“It’ll give other teams hell, I hope,” Ebron said with a chuckle, “enough so that we win the game.”
The morning of the draft, Ebron proposed to his girlfriend of two years, Brittany Rountree. Asked which was better, getting engaged or getting picked 10th by the Lions, Ebron chose the former.
“They’ve both been critical,” Ebron said with a laugh. “I’m going to go with getting engaged because that’s my personal life, but with the Lions, it’s right there. It is right there.”