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Exuberant Eric Ebron making more noise with his play

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Eric Ebron

Allen Park – There have been two sets of adjustments for Eric Ebron since being drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2014. He needed to adjust to the NFL and the NFL needed to adjust to him.

And as the two have grown accustomed to each other, the 23-year-old tight end is steadily developing into the weapon many expected he could be.

Ebron is generally boisterous and exuberant. He doesn’t always have the best filter and he has a tendency to wear his heart on his sleeve. That doesn’t always rub people the right way, both inside and outside an NFL locker room, and that’s especially true for a young, unproven player.

The Lions haven’t done much to mute or even tone down the young tight end. Coach Jim Caldwell believes in authenticity. Still, it’s taken some time for everyone in the organization to adjust to Ebron’s personality. As they have, his comfort level within the building has increased, and so has his production. 

“I just feel like people understand my personality more, the person I am, so I can be more myself than in previous years,” Ebron said. “When people understand who I am, it’s easier to be how I am and what I want to become. People know how to work with me and they understand me.”

 

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As for Ebron’s adjustment, he’s slowly grown more comfortable with the physical and mental demands of being a professional. With that, his production continues to steadily climb. In just 12 games this season, he’s already set career-highs in receptions and yardage. He’s also flashed more explosive play-making ability, nearly doubling his catches of 20 or more yards from the year before.

“He’s coming along I think, and he’s a guy that has talent and ability,” Caldwell said. “He works at it, that’s the thing about him. He’s out there early catching balls and working at what he’d consider to be things that he needs to work on. He’s serious about it so I think he’ll continue to improve.”

Ebron’s ceiling remains a mystery. Even he was stumped when asked.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I have to keep testing it, see how far I can go.”

Entering the season finale, Ebron has 55 catches for 650 yards and one touchdown. He will be in the final season of his rookie contract in 2017, but the team holds a fifth-year option, which as a top-10 selection would be the average of the 10 highest-paid players at his position.