Eric Ebron NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Detroit Lions TE

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2014

Nov 24, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85) with the ball in the first quarter at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina (HT: 6'4⅜", WT: 250 lbs)

Detroit Lions

First Round: 10th Pick

NFL Comparison: Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos

Combine Weigh In
HeightWeightArmsHands
6'4 3/8"25033 1/4"10"
NFL.com
Combine Workout
40-Yard DashBench PressVerticalBroad Jump3-Cone DrillShuttle
4.602432"10'0"DNPDNP
NFL.com

 

Positives

  • Incredible athleticism that far exceeds that of a typical tight end prospect.
  • Elite speed for a tight end, making him a viable downfield threat in certain matchups. 
  • Speed and agility are rare and make him more dangerous than the average tight end in the open field.
  • More than just a possession receiver, like most elite pass-catching tight ends. 
  • Acceleration is elite, making him a difficult matchup for most linebackers without attention from safeties to keep him from getting over the top of the defense.
  • Route running is smooth, and he has the quickness in his cuts to gain a step on more athletic coverage linebackers and safeties.
  • Has the size to be dominant when battling for contested catches once he refines his technique. 
  • Hands are fairly consistent. 
  • Has the athleticism to make difficult catches in traffic and along the sideline. 
  • Shows impressive body control when adjusting to poorly thrown passes. 
  • Experienced lining up in the slot and on the line. 
  • Showed consistent development throughout his career.
  • Gives a strong effort as a blocker.
  • Fights hard as a blocker even when he's overmatched.

 

Negatives

  • Height is only average for today's new breed of pass-catching tight ends. 
  • Plays smaller than his measurements. 
  • Needs to learn how to use his size to his advantage when matched up against smaller linebackers and safeties. 
  • Plays too much like a finesse receiver, which may not make him a great fit for what every offensive scheme wants from its tight end.
  • Too passive in his approach to contested targets. 
  • Tends to let the ball come to him rather than being more assertive and going up to get the ball when in tight coverage.
  • He'll struggle competing for 50/50 balls in the pros with his current approach.
  • Majority of his drops are uncontested passes and simply due to a lack of focus. 
  • Lacks the strength to dominate as a blocker. 
  • Particularly struggles when he's forced to engage with more physical edge-rushers and often gets walked back into the backfield.

 

Collegiate Statistics
YearSchoolRecYardsYds/RecTD
2011UNC1020720.71
2012UNC4062515.64
2013UNC6297315.73
http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/516329/eric-ebron

 

Personal Notes

  • Missed 2011 bowl game for academic reasons. 
  • Relatively young for a draft prospect; he turned 21 in April.
  • First-team All-ACC selection in 2013. 
  • 2013 finalist for the John Mackey Award.

 

Ratings Chart

Chart created at nces.ed.gov

 

Overall

Ebron has the tools to be an elite pass-catching tight end, but he's still fairly raw. He lacks the elite size to excel immediately in the NFL with his inconsistent technique. He will make plays as a rookie based on athleticism alone, but it will take a year or two for him to reach his full potential. At this point in time, he plays like a wide receiver without any concept of how to use his size to his advantage. Once he becomes more aggressive and masters the technique of being more effective as a possession receiver, he could become one of the most well-rounded pass-catching tight ends in the game. 

 

Draft Projection: 1st Round

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