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Eric Ebron is developing into one of the league’s best tight ends

Ebron is having an explosive career year with the Colts.

A change of scenery can be good for the soul, and that certainly seems to be the case for Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron.

Ebron was the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions (Odell Beckham went 12th and Aaron Donald went 13th), but he never played like a top-10 pick during his time in Detroit. After totaling 2,070 yards in four seasons, he was released before signing with Indianapolis this offseason.

With his new team, it’s clear Ebron is developing into his true potential. He’s currently on pace for 822 yards and an incredible 16 touchdowns. That ability was fully on display in the Colts’ 29-26 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10.

Ebron scored three touchdowns — two receiving and one rushing — as he ran through the Jaguars’ defense to help propel the Colts to victory. Here’s how he was able to have a big day — and how the Colts can make sure he continues his breakout season.

The Jaguars left Eric Ebron wideeee the hell open

Jacksonville got the Ebron party started by leaving him wide open on the Colts’ first possession of the game. Ebron ran a standard corner route, but no one on the Jaguars covered him. This left him wide open for an easy 53-yard touchdown to start the day.

Then the Colts got a little creative on Ebron’s second touchdown of the day

Ebron is an explosive athlete, so it’s smart for the Colts to see what other ways they can get him involved with their offensive attack. On his second touchdown of the day, the Colts used him in the run game to spring him loose for a touchdown.

Colts head coach Frank Reich reached into his bag of tricks by calling a reverse for Ebron on the five-yard line as the first quarter was ending. The Colts’ offensive line faked right like they were blocking for the running back as Ebron and the other tight ends went left into the end zone. This was a nice play design to give the Colts the lead heading into the second quarter.

And finally, Jacksonville left Ebron wide open for the hat trick

Ebron’s final touchdown of the day was just as easy as the first one, with Jacksonville simply losing track of Ebron on both scores.

Indianapolis ran a simple concept that had one deep route, which was run by Ebron, and one short route to the right side of the field. Andrew Luck’s read on the play was simplified because the Jaguars didn’t even bother guarding the route run by Ebron on his side of the field.

How can the Colts help Ebron continue his success?

Ebron has been a monster in the red zone this season and the Colts have done a great job of scheming him open. Here’s an example from their Thursday night game against the Patriots back in Week 5:

They got Ebron matched up on a slower linebacker in Dont’a Hightower and he was able to easily get open for a touchdown against man coverage. Ebron’s athleticism also helps him in contested catch situations — he’s starting to turn into a player that just needs the ball thrown near him to make a play.

This play against Washington is a perfect example of Ebron boxing a defender out on a back shoulder throw:

Here’s another example from the Colts’ Week 4 game against the Houston Texans. Ebron is able to leap over two Houston defenders on the goal line for a touchdown.

Ebron’s explosive Week 10 performance wasn’t exactly the most difficult game he’ll play in, but it’s been fun to watch him put together a career year with the Colts. Entering this season, he had 11 career receiving touchdowns — he now has nine receiving touchdowns in 2018 alone.

Ebron has already shown he has more than enough athleticism to make special plays on the ball. If he can continue to develop his receiving skills, he’ll be well on his way to becoming one of the league’s premier tight ends.