Eric Ebron is being thrown right into the fire. The 10th overall pick in the NFL draft is primed to become a contributing member to a playoff-caliber team in Detroit.
Through three weeks, the Lions are 2-1 and Ebron has three receptions for 38 yards. Modest numbers perhaps, but the Lions have a deep roster of offensive stars, including possibly the best receiver on the planet. The upside for Ebron is that he has the luxury of learning from the best.
"It takes time to develop into a complete player," Ebron says. "You're not going to just come in and be an amazing guy. It takes time to get timing down and understand exactly what the team wants you to do. For a tight end, it's even harder because you have to learn a lot more. The more time you have, the more you practice with guys like Matt [Stafford], Calvin [Johnson] and Golden [Tate], the easier it becomes."
Johnson's 329 receiving yards are good for second in the NFL. Stafford's 883 yards are fourth in league passing. In Week 1 on Monday Night Football against the Giants, Johnson snatched seven receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns. For Ebron, this was his first on-field regulations experience with Johnson.
"For me, it wasn't surprising," Ebron says. "I practice with him every day. I've been with him since OTAs, training camp, everything. I just try to take as many pointers as I can."
But as a tight end, Ebron also needs to know how to block for a unit that includes Stafford at quarterback and Reggie Bush and Joique Bell out of the backfield. The 21-year-old Ebron had his fair share of time to study other NFL tight ends before joining the league. He is trying to transition his knowledge into his career.
"I grew up watching Vernon Davis a lot," Ebron says of the San Francisco 49ers tight end. "I think he's the most versatile tight end in turns of power, speed and catching. I think he's the most complete tight end for the 49ers because he does everything in their offense. I want to be the most complete tight end I can be."
Ebron had 55 receptions for 895 yards and three touchdowns as a junior last season at North Carolina before turning pro. His performance earned him All-ACC first team and a Mackey Award Finalist nomination in 2013.
"The speed and tempo of everything doesn't get that much different, it's more the mental aspect," he says of adjusting to the NFL. "Precision is more important."
For the Lions, the team narrowly missed the postseason thanks to a late-season collapse. This year, playing in February is on the Lions' minds.
"We all believe it in our hearts," Ebrons says. "We have a lot of great leaders on this team. We're just trying to continue to understand each other, our personalities on the team and our identities."
Before the season, Ebron met up with a group of fellow rookies for "All For Football" Rookie Bootcamp, courtesy of Pepsi. Along with actor Anthony Anderson, Ebron, Jadeveon Clowney, Blake Bortles, Kelvin Benjamin, Teddy Bridgewater and other rookies took part in a series of videos. As one may expect, Anderson's comedy complemented the rookies' athletic abilities.
"He's probably one of the most hilarious guys I've ever encountered one-on-one," Ebron says of Anderson. "I got a chance to talk to him later that night. He's just a down-to-earth, funny guy."
All of the videos can be found on NFL.com. Fans can also vote for a "Rookie of the Week" every week on NFL.com.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.