The Detroit Lions certainly got good value with first round choice, Eric Ebron. After viewing four games on a snap-by-snap basis (South Carolina, Miami, Duke, Cincinnati), I gave Ebron a lofty 8.5 grade (1st round, 6-14 range), which was among the highest of the prospects I graded.
Here’s an excerpt from his scouting report:
Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Height: 6043 Weight: 250 40 Time: 4.60
NFL Comparison: Kellen Winslow II
Adequate height and bulk with frame to add size. Upper echelon speed to threaten deep down the seam. Possesses outstanding balance and body control to present wide catch radius. Catches the ball cleanly away from his frame. Has the quickness and agility to run the route tree and separate vs. man coverage. Elusive with the ball in his hands. Effective step and seal blocker and adequate blocking on the move.
Has momentary lapses in concentration and drops catchable passes. Needs to polish his route-running. Is not a powerful in-line blocker when lining up as the “Y” and struggles creating movement off the LOS. Needs to get stronger, particularly in his lower half. Not a great finisher when blocking on the move. Needs to play with an overall more consistent focus.
Ebron finished his career at North Carolina with 112 receptions for 1805 yards, bettering Vernon Davis’ ACC career receiving yards record. Ebron fits the growing NFL trend to find “move” tight ends who can line up anywhere and present size and speed mismatches against linebackers and secondary defenders respectively. Ebron has the versatility to line up wide or in the slot, and his rare fluidity allows him to routinely separate from defenders when running routes. In addition to exploiting defenses underneath, Ebron’s ability to explode off the line and accelerate past defenders provides him the ability to stretch the field vertically. While adequate as a blocker, he needs to improve his lower body strength and technique to become a more complete tight end. Overall, Ebron possesses elite innate athletic characteristics and his flaws are correctable. First round, top fifteen pick whose rare measurables provide him with the versatility to present mismatch nightmares for defensive coordinators. Pro Bowl upside.
Certainly it’s easy to argue that there are more pressing needs on the roster. Still, a player with Ebron’s size and athleticism will open up a whole new world of intriguing possibilities for a creative offensive coordinator like Joe Lombardi.