Welcome to the seventeenth edition of “Who to Rep,” our ongoing series in which we recommend a player to rep for the upcoming week. Our selection process is rigorously unscientific, but we hope you like it anyway.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The Lions didn’t win on Sunday. If you’re a Lions fan you might be tired of hearing that sentence, especially this year. But we’re here to tell you that there’s room for hope in this up and down year for the boys in Honolulu Blue. Even in a loss there are plenty of options for “Who to Rep” out of this Lions squad. This week we’re going with Eric Ebron.
An honorable mention has to go to Marvin Jones, since he eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season on a deep pass against his former team. It’s the first time in his career that he’s gone for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah’s 3 sack day would deserve a mention as well. It puts him 1 sack away from reaching a double-digit sack total for the first time since 2015 and puts him 5th in the Lions all-time sack leaders. Those are both pretty good days.
But the choice of “Who to Rep” this week seems pretty clear. Ebron had 83 yards receiving, the highlight of which was a 33-yard pass he hauled in for a touchdown. And what a touchdown.
Lined up wide against the Bengals linebacker, Ebron used a little stutter step move to freeze the linebacker, then turned on the jets and blew past his defender with raw speed. That speed ensured that the linebacker couldn't catch up and Ebron hauled in a nicely thrown ball for the touchdown. It’s a template for touchdowns that the Lions should turn to again and again next year.
The rest of Ebron’s 83 yards were not as explosive, but instead highlighted something that has developed in his game: consistency. Whenever Matt Stafford needs a receiver to be open, Ebron seems to be open. Having a tight end with his combination of route running, acceleration, and top-end speed is such a dangerous weapon for an offense that already was loaded with dangerous weapons.
Of course, this pick is as much about Ebron’s steady improvement each year as it is about an individual game. Ebron has already played in more games this season than in his previous 3 seasons (13, 14, and 13 games respectively) and is very close to breaking his career bests in targets (86) and touchdowns (5) with 1 game to go. This kind of improvement is important and since Ebron is still just 24, there’s time for him to really elevate and become one of the league’s great tight ends.
For now, you can rep his jersey with pride. Even if the Lions aren’t going to the playoffs, Ebron has been one of their most important offensive weapons and appears to be heading towards an even brighter future.