His 973 receiving yards are an ACC record by a tight end. Ebron ranked second nationally in receiving yards by a tight end in 2013.
"Tremendous physical talent," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell told reporters following the pick. "A guy who can run with his size. We anticipate he'll be a guy who comes in and contributes immediately for us. He'll give us an opportunity to do things match-up wise."
Ebron joins a loaded receiving corps in Detroit alongside Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Detroit offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, previously an offensive assistant in New Orleans, intends to utilize Ebron's versatility in his pass-happy scheme.
"He's going to line up all over the place; you're going to have to find him," Lombardi said.
Ebron told reporters that he was surprised when the Lions drafted him at No. 10, although he said he had established good connections with the coaching staff throughout the scouting process.
"One of my goals is to hopefully win rookie of the year," Ebron said. "I think I can do that with this type of offense that we have in Detroit."
The Greensboro, N.C. native set his career high in receiving yards (199) in a loss to Miami on Oct. 17 and his career high in receptions (9) in UNC's win over N.C. State on Nov. 2 last season. His 199 receiving yards are a single-game school record for a tight end and the sixth-most ever by a Tar Heel regardless of position.
"I'm thrilled for Eric and his family," UNC head coach Larry Fedora said in a press release. "Eric is the prototype tight end that the NFL is looking for these days. He can run all the routes. He can catch the ball, make people miss and has the speed to run away from defenders. The Lions are getting a special player and I think his best football is ahead of him."
Ebron represents UNC's seventh first-round pick in seven years and 23rd all-time, which is good for fourth-most in the ACC.