UNC Tight End Eric Ebron Is the NFL's Next Jermichael Finley

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UNC Tight End Eric Ebron Is the NFL's Next Jermichael Finley
Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Ebron is the best receiving tight end in all of college football. He's so good that he's reminiscent of former Texas Longhorn Jermichael Finley out there. 

He's so athletically gifted that he can go up and get any ball. He showed this in his six-catch, 108-yard, one touchdown performance against Georgia Tech. But there are questions in his game that he needs to answer on the field. Luckily, off the field, he has yet to cause any waves.

A big question in his game is his blocking ability, or lack thereof. As far as his draft standing, he's pushing to be the first tight end taken and should end up as one of the top pass catchers in the 2014 draft.

 

 

Like Finley, Ebron can catch almost everything thrown his way

In the game versus Georgia Tech, there were numerous times where Ebron found the weak spot in the zone, and Bryn Renner threw it to where only he could catch it...with one hand.

The crazy part is that Ebron actually obliged.

So not only is he an effective route runner, but he's got good hands and can use his body to box out defenders for the ball, much like Finley does. On his touchdown catch, he was able to find a hole in the zone on a route that he ran impeccably in order to make an athletic, one-handed catch.

However, just like Jermichael Finley, he will drop the ball on some easy catches way too often. There were a couple of wide open balls thrown his way that hit him in the hands. Despite being poor throws or tough catches, there's never a reason to let a ball that hits you in the hands hit the ground.

 

So Ebron can catch, but can he block?

And the Jermichael Finley comparison continues for Eric Ebron. While he can catch almost anything thrown his way, the excellent Ebron is not a great blocker. He can create some seal blocks when needed, but he had as many good blocks in the Georgia Tech game as he had catches (six).

Finley has earned a -0.9 grade for his run blocking through two games this season from Pro Football Focus, and it wouldn't be shocking if Ebron had a similar grade from North Carolina for his blocking. While that isn't a great grade, it's average.

And when he gets to the NFL, that's all he really needs to be. Much like Finley, he just has to be able to get a second-level block or a chip to create some extra space for his running back.

 

All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.

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