Scouting The Draft: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

We continue to look at some of the elite prospects in the 2014 NFL draft, today we focus on tight end Eric Ebron

Introduction

If you are anything like me, when you watch teams like the Saints or the Patriots, you get serious tight end envy. Having these fast, big bodied receivers catching everything in sight, causes mis-matches all over the field. it's frustrating to look at our current crop of Winslow who can't stay on the field and Cumberland who is seriously inconsistent in his performances.

Some have mentioned Jimmy Graham as a possible target, I would throw a cheque book his way if that were a possibility but if New Orleans let him test free agency, their GM should be booked in for a cat-scan immediately. I think they ensure he commits his future to the franchise as soon as the season is over, and failing that, they probably slap the franchise tag on him.

Ebron is coming off a season where he set every school record for a tight end, including receptions with 62 and receiving yards with 97. In a league where the athletic pass-catching tight-end is priced at a premium, I only expect Ebron's stock to continue to rise. It could be that he is a top 15 pick by the time the draft comes around, but more likely he is a late first selection.

Measurables

Height: 6'4

Weight: 245lb's

Class: Junior

Projected 40: 4.6-4.7

Statistics

Year Receptions Yards Average Long Touchdowns
2013 62 973 15.7 79 3
2012 40 625 15.6 49 4
2011 10 207 20.7 47 1

Positives

Let me be completely honest here, Ebron is my favourite player in this draft for the Jets. He is very quick off the line, with acceleration among the elite, he gets to top speed smoothly and quickly. Often has the ability to find the soft spots in zone or blow past man coverage my safeties, linebackers or defensive backs. Quickly adapts to balls while in the area, very fluid in his transition and catches the ball away from his body easily. Excellent play recognition and has been consistently praised for his work ethic. A very dangerous runner with the ball in his hands, makes good cuts and always fights for the extra yard. Very physical and tough in the run game. Can be lined up in a traditional set, or split out wide as a receiver or even coming out of the backfield as a H-Back type. Is already a great athlete and fantastic football player, but hasn't reached his full potential.

Negatives

Honestly, there isn't a lot to not like about Ebron. He does have room to grow but with development at the NFL level I'm very comfortable that he'll do that. Needs to add a little mass to his frame and focus on technique in the red-zone using his frame to block out defenders. Although he is physical in the run game, he needs to be more consistent with his approach. All the negatives can be worked on with good coaching and natural maturation as an adult.

Conclusion

We need a good athletic pass catcher, not a middle of the field plodder. Personally Ebron is my favourite tight end in the draft and definitely the #1 for me in terms of who I want to draft. He has an excellent combination of size and speed and his catching radius is elite. He does need to improve in certain areas, but most prospects do. Big claim, but he is as good a tight end as I've seen coming out of college in the last 10 years. His ceiling is to be one of the best, it's now up to the coaches to get the best out of him.

Would I Draft Him For The Jets?

Without any shadow of a doubt!

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