ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Eric Ebron understands there is a level of pressure there now, a level of expectation heaped upon him from the moment the Detroit Lions selected him with the No. 10 pick in May’s NFL draft.
He didn’t necessarily ask for it or expect it, but he appears to be embracing it at least. The extremely confident tight end has no other choice, really. He is going to be looked at differently than the rest of his class. He is going to be called on more.
And if he wants to end up being the NFL’s top rookie when this season comes to a close, he knows he has to produce on a major level -- a level befitting the pick the Lions used on him. His goals, though, go a little bit deeper.
Ebron’s goals encompass the entire state he now resides in.
“Everybody has their own individual goals, but my personal goal is really to not let Michigan down,” Ebron said Tuesday as he reported for training camp. “You know, you got picked first, you’re here, it’s about us in this facility that grinds and goes out there in this heat and work to be something great. And it’s about our fans, the people that come out and support us.
“That’s really what I don’t, that’s sort of like my goals. Don’t let Michigan down. Don’t let the team down.”
Ebron knows Detroit’s offensive success this season is going to be somewhat tied to his ability to pick up the offense, to catch passes with regularity and to develop a rapport with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
He also knows his room for making mistakes -- like he did from time to time during spring workouts -- will diminish with every practice leading up to the regular season. He needs to transition his mentality from making mistakes and learning from them to no longer making those errors at all.
He isn’t concerned about his physical condition with any of that. It is all about his mental status.
“I’ve never really worried about my body physically,” Ebron said. “Mentally, it is what it is. It’s the NFL, it’s my first year. I’m going to have migraines. I have Advil sitting in my desk in the tight end room ready to chew on. I’m ready.”
As part of getting ready, Ebron had to do one thing first -- clean out his locker. A Lions coach sent Ebron a picture of his mess of a stall asking if he could keep it neat. The reason for the mess? He was using it as storage.
A lot of storage.
“I had about, a smooth 35 pair of shoes. I had a couple systems for my house, by Sonos. They are some people I deal with, the speakers are incredible,” Ebron said. “I had some customized cleats for the season come through from Nike. The Ebrons ain’t dropped yet. Next year.
“That was it. Just shoes took up most of my locker. Now they in the back of my car.”
They were moved into the same car Ebron is leasing right now as he starts to find a way to navigate in his new world both as a Michigan resident and as an NFL first-round draft pick.