Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina (HT: 6'4⅜", WT: 250 lbs)
First Round: 10th Pick
NFL Comparison: Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos
+ Incredible athleticism, ranking among the elite pass-catching tight ends in the NFL.
+ Rare speed for the tight end position.
+ Long arms and large hands.
+ Shows consistent development throughout his career.
- Passive approach to catching the football.
- Inconsistent battling for 50/50 balls.
- Only average height compared to most elite pass-catching tight ends.
- Suffers from too many focus drops.
|40-Yard Dash||Bench Press||Vertical||Broad Jump||3-Cone|
Ebron's maturity has been questioned by some during the pre-draft process, most notably by former GM and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian who stated, per ESPN.com's Scott Brown: "I don't think he's ready to play in the NFL right now. I think he's too immature. I don't think his feet are firmly planted on the ground."
It's also worth noting that Ebron was suspended from the 2011 Independence Bowl for academic reasons.
Ebron showed up on many highlight reels for his athletic receptions, but the consistency just isn't there.
Despite physical tools including his long arms and large hands, Ebron allows far too many balls to hit the turf. The issues with drops primarily stem from a simple lack of focus—which explains his success on receptions with a high degree of difficulty but his lack of reliability on the easier catches.
Tight ends, especially those with the speed to get down the field, need to be able to come down with contested catches. Despite Ebron's athleticism, he'll rarely shake coverage entirely at the next level. But with his current passive approach, Ebron struggles to consistently come down with balls in traffic.
Ebron tends to let the ball come to him rather than going up to high-point it. As a result, defensive backs are able to make a play on the ball more frequently than they should when facing a receiver with the height and leaping ability to beat them to the football every time.
After the Catch
Ebron clearly has the speed to break free after the catch, but he also doesn't shy away from contact. His blend of speed and a willingness to run over defenders makes him difficult to corral in the open field.
Ebron nearly ran the full route tree at North Carolina, thanks to their creative schemes which moved him all over the field. He's explosive off the line of scrimmage and quick in his cuts.
Unlike many pass-catching tight ends, Ebron doesn't have an obvious weakness to exploit. He's strong and explosive enough to easily fight through press coverage from bigger linebackers and pull away after he beats them off the line. His blend of size and speed makes him too much for most defensive backs to handle.
Against Zone Coverage
If Ebron does have a weakness defenses can exploit, it's his limited field awareness against zone coverage. He does a poor job recognizing the defensive movement around him and consistently finding the soft spot.
He could also improve the effort he gives to work back to the quarterback when the play breaks down.
Ebron lacks the strength to truly dominate as a blocker, which limits his upside as an in-line tight end. However, he does have potential and shows flashes of effectiveness as a move-blocker.
Unfortunately, those flashes seem to only appear when Ebron decides to put forth the effort.
His strength and explosiveness give him the ability to deliver a nice punch, and he can lay blocks on the edge to break the ball-carrier free. If he's going to be relied upon for this at the next level, however, the coaching staff will need to ride him to make sure his intensity stays high.