Lions bust Eric Ebron changing perceptions in Indianapolis

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In Detroit, Eric Ebron was a draft bust. Chosen with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Ebron never became the kind of tight end the Lions thought he would be, and this year they let him go rather than paying him his fifth-year option salary.

It didn’t help that there were a whole lot of good players still on the board when the Lions chose Ebron: Six of the next seven players selected (Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham, Aaron Donald, Ryan Shazier, Zack Martin and C.J. Mosley) have been to multiple Pro Bowls. Ebron never played at anything resembling a Pro Bowl level in Detroit.

But while Ebron is never going to be a difference-maker like Beckham or Donald, he signed with the Colts this year and is changing perceptions in Indianapolis.

Six games into the season, Ebron has six touchdown catches, tying him for the most in the NFL. And that’s twice as many touchdowns as any other tight end this season: Three other tight ends are tied for second, with three touchdown catches apiece.

In four full seasons in Detroit, Ebron totaled only 11 touchdown catches, and his six this year are already a career high. He also never had more than 61 catches or 711 yards, and this year he’s on pace to top both of those totals, easily.

The narrative around Ebron now seems to be changing, from, “What were the Lions thinking when they drafted him?” to “Why couldn’t the Lions get out of him what the Colts can?”

Ebron is still only 25 years old, and tight ends sometimes take a while to develop in the NFL. He may now just be entering his prime, and he may end up proving that he did deserve to be a first-round pick. Even if he proves it playing for a team other than the one that drafted him.

36 responses to “Lions bust Eric Ebron changing perceptions in Indianapolis

  1. I read that as “prescriptions” and was immediately intrigued to find out what in the world this was about…..

  2. Good for him. But I’m glad he’s gone. I saw enough 3rd down drops that would have been first downs to the point where I was cringing every time the ball was thrown to him. Spin it any way you want, but not being able to catch the ball isn’t a coaching issue. Coaches shouldn’t have to teach an NFL TE to catch the ball.

    Best of luck to him, hopefully he turns around his career in Indy.

  3. Ya a lot of ex lions are happy these days. ex packers too. Cudos to the Colts. They did a good job and only need a few decent players to be competive again.

  4. He’s had his share of drops this year too, and he still couldn’t block me. It’s not like he’s playing at an All Pro level. But at least he’s being productive, which is rare for someone signed by the Colts

    – Colts fan

  5. It’s amazing how facing the possibility of not getting a big, fat NFL paycheck can motivate someone.

  6. He can thank the Lions for his turn around. When they released him, it made him wake up and smell the coffee.

  7. Well he’s playing for a team that has thrown it more then any other team in the league because they are always getting waxed sitting at last place in the conference and always playing from behind padding up those passing/receiving stats to the max…. but yeah, Ebron was a hidden gem that the Lions couldn’t realize. Nice narrative.

  8. v2787 says:
    October 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm
    It was the Lions. What else needs to be said?
    Detroit has a better record than the Colts.

  9. The Lions have made more of a commitment to running the football. Ebron does not block well. He was no longer a fit, and I think it would have cost the Lions 8+ million to pick up the option year. Lions and Colts are both better-off where Ebron is. Although, Ebron’s production hasn’t really helped with the Colts w/l record.

  10. Ebron wasn’t a bust. He matured and improved every year. He was, however maligned by ignorant fans for being a TE drafted early instead of some other positions of need. These idiots, the media included, poisoned him on Detroit. He’d still be a Lion if not for stupid fans. It was a classy gesture by the Lions brass to let him walk, after the Gronkowski deal (Which Ebron was a big part of) fell through.

  11. Go to, click on standings, scroll all the way down to the basement and you’ll see the Colts right there tied for 32nd in the league… but hey Ebron amirite!

  12. Ebron has done a nice job even with a few drops. But when your number 1 and 2 options are hurt and your other receivers can’t catch a cold Ebron is benefiting from that.

  13. Detroit! Trying to take the factory of sadness away from Cleveland! Amazing how a change of scenery and coaches makes such a difference!

  14. This has to make Lions fans mad as heck. It’s almost like he was sandbagging on purpose to get out of there.

  15. Stupid Lions Fan says:
    October 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm
    Go to, click on standings, scroll all the way down to the basement and you’ll see the Colts right there tied for 32nd in the league… but hey Ebron amirite!
    No, you are wrong……for using the ‘word’ amirite.

  16. all that need be said is Ebron was picked BEFORE Aaron Donald;

    a top 15 first round choice is supposed to be an impact player, not a Twitter-bater;

  17. His DVOA this year has him ranked as the 20th TE, just like where he finished last year in DVOA

    He ranked 9th among TEs in DVOA in 2016

    The DIFFERENCE in Ebron’s play is targets. That’s what is getting him on a pace for career highs catches & yards & TDs

    His career high in targets in a season is 86 in 2017 (85 targets in 2016). He already has 52 this year, putting him on pace for nearly 140 targets

    He’s still a below average starting TE. He’s just a below average starting TE getting 9 targets a game

  18. This isn’t surprising. Luck loves to throw to tight ends. That’s how he was trained at Stanfurd under Harbaugh. In the pros, the tight ends are his comfort safety net.

  19. He still stinks. TY and Jack Doyle are hurt so they have no choice but to pepper him in tons of targets, mainly because the Colts stink and are constantly playing from behind.

  20. His play was improving his last two seasons in Detroit. The atmosphere there was toxic for him. Fans were less interested in his improvement than booing him, making him the scapegoat for issues that are embedded in the team’s culture. And I don’t think hiring Matt (alleged rapist) Patricia is going to change things in Detroit. He seems to be making everything even worse.

  21. dreemeagle says:
    October 16, 2018 at 3:58 pm
    all that need be said is Ebron was picked BEFORE Aaron Donald;

    a top 15 first round choice is supposed to be an impact player, not a Twitter-bater;
    And that is Ebron’s fault how? It’s no surprise the instant enmity Ebron recieved from fans was reacted to negatively. He was one of the youngest Lions ever drafted, immature and with a big ego to boot.

  22. If Ebron was in Detroit, he wouldn’t be having these kind of stats because he would still be the 4th option behind Jones, Tate, and Golladay. In Indy, with Hilton and Doyle injured, he’s been the No 1 option.

  23. Eric Ebron talked way too much for what he put out. Detroit is a blue collar town with sports heroes like Isaiah, Yzerman and Trammel. All whom delivered championships while letting their play do their talking.

    No one really wished Ebron ill will, it’s just that when we needed him to play big, he came up small, then had a million reasons why.

    I personally would not have cut him but we sucked with him and can suck without him. So have a nice life Mr Ebron and keep it classy, because karma is a you know what.

  24. Detroit had enough playmakers (Tate, Jones Jr, Golloday). They needed more of a traditional TE, which Ebron is not. That’s not a knock on Ebron. His skill set is down the field, not in the trenches. Detroit already had that.

    What Detroit did screw up on is just cutting him and getting absolutely nothing in return

  25. Another proven bust from Detroit. Worst 1st round draft pick in the past 10 years. Lions fans are triggered cause they live in denial!

  26. Wow you Lions fans sound incredibly salty about this. “Ebron is only putting up stats because he’s getting targets” – really? He wouldn’t be getting those targets if he wasn’t open. Also, just because you get targets doesn’t automatically explain away leading the NFL in touchdowns. Just admit it…Ebron is turning it around.

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