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Lions' Eric Ebron leads Week 4 snap report

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A week ago, we churned out a snap report to highlight surprising trends in playing time.

Below is a list of players catching our eye for telling snap counts. Some are harbingers of rough seas ahead, while others suggest breakouts on the horizon.

1. Eric Ebron, Lions: Compared to Vernon Davis entering the 2014 NFL Draft, the No. 10 overall pick was expected to play a big role in Joe Lombardi's revamped offense. Instead, he is bringing up the rear among Detroit tight ends, playing just 69 snaps on the season compared to 123 for Brandon Pettigrew and 79 for Joseph Fauria. Just 21 years old, Ebron has a bright future. Lions fans just can't expect much out of him as a rookie.

2. Jelani Jenkins, Dolphins: The best linebacker on the Dolphins' roster opened the season on the bench. Since Dannell Ellerbe went down with a Week 1 injury, Jenkins has excelled on the weak side, stuffing the box score. As of Week 4, the 2013 fourth-round draft pick is an every-down player after racking up 14 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against the Chiefs.

3. Tony Jefferson, Cardinals: As we pointed out on Wednesday's episode of the Around The NFL Podcast, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is creatively deploying a trio of safeties to compensate for the losses of Pro Bowl-caliber inside linebackers Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby. The primary beneficiary has been Jefferson (52 snaps), who made a series of big plays in the victory over the 49ers while replacing linebacker Kevin Minter (19 snaps) in nickel packages. It won't be easy for Tyrann Mathieu to get his job back from Jefferson.

4. Allen Robinson and Denard Robinson, Jaguars: I wondered in early May why Allen wasn't viewed as a first-round prospect. Although he's still third on the depth chart, his snaps have increased every week, allowing him to lead the team in targets (10), receptions (seven) and yards (79) in Week 3. Denard more than doubled his previous high in snaps against the Colts, cutting into Toby Gerhart's playing time. Coach Gus Bradley said this week that Robinson has earned more reps and will continue to get them going forward.

5. Top-10 picks on the offensive line: Jonathan Cooper of the Cardinals and Greg Robinson of the Rams were billed as two of the most athletic offensive linemen to enter the NFL in the last decade. Cooper has played just three snaps after losing his job to journeyman Ted Larsen. Robinson has seen 10 of a possible 209 snaps. Neither one seems likely to contribute this season, barring injury.

On the latest Around The NFL Podcast, the heroes chat with two-time MVP Kurt Warner, debate the NFL's top throwing arms and preview Thursday night's game.

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