Eric Ebron has been part of the NFL for a little over a week, gone through one minicamp with his fellow rookies and knows this week, when more veterans show up, it’ll be a little bit different.
There will be pressure on all of his fellow draft picks, but he understands he was selected in the first round and that he was brought in to contribute and play immediately. So his expectation out of this week’s organized team activities might be different than most.
“I’m expecting to just show that I’m worthy of the pick and that I’m not trying to come here and be a bust,” Ebron told ESPN.com on Sunday night. “Just show them that I am here to do what I was picked to do.
“Earn the respect of the guys.”
What Ebron was selected to do is become a matchup issue for all of Detroit’s opponents. He was picked to take pressure off of star receiver Calvin Johnson and the recently signed Golden Tate, to deflect attention from them onto himself at points so everyone on the Lions' offense can make more plays.
This was what he envisioned when the Lions chose him and what the Lions thought when they made him the No. 10 pick in the draft earlier this month.
For now, he is like every other rookie -- well, kind of -- over the past couple of weeks. Not every rookie filmed a Web series with Gillette leading up to the draft to show preparation for it -- he, Jadeveon Clowney and Aaron Murray did that -- but he’s like everyone else in trying to understand what is going on and the added complexities of the NFL.
That stunned him more than anything this past weekend during rookie minicamp.
“Man, how hard an NFL offense can be, it really surprised me,” Ebron said. “I did not expect the terminology to be that long or plays to be that difficult.”
By the end of the weekend, Ebron started to grasp what the Lions were going to do and having issues with it was not uncommon for Lions rookies. The terminology also left rookie quarterback James Franklin and receiver TJ Jones confused at points as well over the weekend.
Ebron understood the formations Detroit was implementing, but where he was going to line up each specific play was still new to him.
As for where he lined up, Ebron said he was “50-50” between along the offensive line and other points in the formation, where he was more like a receiver. He said he was fine with all of it, but still adjusting to everything moving from college speed to a professional one.
It’s a pace that will quicken this week during OTAs, where even as everyone is beginning to learn the new offensive and defensive schemes together for the first time, the rookies will still be adjusting to everything else going on with the NFL.
“It’s like the next step,” Ebron said. “Now you’re about to step into the fast pace. The pace of the NFL.”