Detroit Lions receiver Golden Tate expects big things from second-year tight end Eric Ebron in 2015.
Ebron was one of the most hyped offensive prospects to come out of the 2014 NFL draft. Many experts compared him to San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, thanks to his outstanding combination of size (6-foot-4, 250 pounds), speed and athleticism.
As a rookie in 2014, Ebron showed spurts of promise, catching 25 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. But he didn’t come close to scratching his full potential—something Tate believes is about to change this season.
“We have a lot of confidence in (Ebron) and we’re trusting him to come in and open it up for other guys,” Tate said, via DetroitLions.com. “We expect nothing but that and we’re expecting a big year from him.
“He’s shown flashes of being a very dynamic player for us and we just want him to blossom into his own player and help us.”
Opening things up is exactly what Ebron was brought in to do for the Lions.
While not quite as fast as Davis is with the 49ers, with 4.60 speed in the 40-yard dash, Ebron still has the wheels to burn linebackers and safeties over the top. Furthermore, he’ll be electric when Detroit utilizes him on drag routes underneath, where his after-the-catch abilities are just as dangerous.
Defenses must pick a poison when facing Detroit.
Calvin Johnson demands at least two defenders on every single snap. Even as the focal point of the offense, and even with two or three defenders draped around him, Megatron routinely finds a way to make amazing plays down the field.
Tate, in his own right, is a downright terror to defend. While Johnson dealt with injuries last year, the former Golden Domer led the Lions with 99 catches for 1,331 yards, hauling in four touchdowns to boot. He’s outstanding after the catch and is a perfect complement to Johnson.
Between Tate and Johnson, opposing secondaries need at least three (if not four) defenders to keep them in check. That leaves linebackers and perhaps a safety to take responsibility for defending Ebron, who is talented enough to abuse most of that lot.
Tate isn’t wrong—Ebron should explode with a terrific sophomore campaign after settling into his role.
“I’m a lot more comfortable in the offense,” Ebron said. “I’m a lot more comfortable with the quarterback, a lot more comfortable with my teammates. It shows. It plays out in practice.”
It’s going to soon play out in games, as opposing defenses will find out.
Detroit’s offense will be a blast to watch and Ebron should emerge as a Pro Bowl pass-catching tight end in the league within the next few seasons.
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