The Detroit Lions drafted Eric Ebron with the 10th overall pick this year in the NFL Draft. A pick that high needs to make an immediate impact, and Ebron will be expected to start and help to move this offense forward towards the playoffs in 2014. Problem is he first has to learn how to play this style of offense.
Ebron played in a “spread” style offense at North Carolina. It was far less complicated of an offense than the one new coordinator Joe Lombardi is bringing from New Orleans. Ebron has already acknowledged a large learning curve and said he’s having good days and terrible days. He will have to grab hold of the offense and learn of all its intricate details before heading into the season. It is entirely possible that he could do just that, but for now he’s struggling.
My hope is that they are not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. If Ebron doesn’t grasp the offense and makes mental mistakes it could be very costly for the Lions this season. It will lead to interceptions and missed opportunities, which is nothing new for Detroit, but sure would be nice to see less of it. The Lions have done this sort of thing before, most notably with quarterback Joey Harrington who was a downfield thrower in college before being forced into a west coast style offense put in place by Steve Mariucci and it never worked. That’s a drastic comparison and a different situation, but I’m trying to illuminate a worst case scenario. Hopefully it’s nowhere near that as the situation likely led to ruin of both Harrington and Mariucci’s careers in the NFL. They are both doing well as commentators at least.
Ebron has the talent and skills to make the transition to the NFL. He is going to playing catch up more than catch this offseason as he studies the offense. He isn’t alone, this is a new offense for everyone on the team, but at least the rest of the offensive starters are used to the speed and talent level in the NFL, Ebron has a lot of work to do to become an NFL force.