After being drafted 10th overall last month by the Detroit Lions, tight end Eric Ebron isn’t being modest with his expectations for the upcoming year. Speaking with Tim Twentyman of Lions.com, Ebron says he hopes to make the Pro Bowl and win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in his first NFL season.
“My goals are set high,” Ebron said Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, where he’s the grand marshal for the Quicken Loans 400. “I’ve never set goals that were too low or too easy to achieve. I’m going to try to go for rookie of the year. If it happens, it happens. I believe I can do it.”
Being grand marshal of the Quicken Loans 400 sounds pretty neat, but emerging as a major weapon in the Lions’ passing offense would be a much more impressive accomplishment. Ebron may not be a wide receiver, but he should get tons of balls thrown his way as one of the key focal points in a pass-happy Lions offense.
“Matt (Stafford) believes I can do it, coaches believe I can do it,” Ebron said. “My coach right now, he’s saying, ‘Our goal right now is to make it to the Pro Bowl our rookie year.’ I was like, ‘Well, your goal is my goal, so we’re going to try to do it as fast and as quickly and make it be known as fast as we can.”
The presence of Stafford, Detroit’s franchise QB, makes Ebron’s claims that much more intriguing. While the Lions have typically been one of the more productive passing offenses in the league since drafting Stafford a few years ago, finding alternative weapons to star wideout Calvin Johnson has been difficult.
That’s hopefully where Ebron fits in, giving Stafford a strong receiver to challenge over the middle and attract defenders away from Megatron.
Last year at North Carolina, Ebron caught 62 passes for 973 yards and three touchdowns as one of the most productive tight ends in the nation, something Detroit hopes he can replicate at the next level.
If that’s the case, the Lions should be one of the top offenses in the NFL next season. With Stafford and a solid host of skill players — Johnson, Ebron, Golden Tate, Reggie Bush — expect Detroit to rack up the points. And if Ebron gets enough targets in the red zone, don’t be surprised if some gaudy touchdown totals earn him attention for those year-end honors.