The 2014 BTB Community Draft continues!
This is our favorite opportunity to interact with our community and allow them some front-page limelight, while simultaneously getting our first in-depth look at several candidates for the draft's first round.
This will be much more than just one community member's idea of how to help out their assigned teams. After each selection is forwarded to me, I will gather all of the pertinent information about this prospect from some of the internet's best draft resources. We will try to highlight the profile's best and worst traits, so that our reader's are highly educated come May 8th when these guys names are called.
To keep things simple, no trades are allowed; I think for a one round exercise that does little to actually project how things are going to turn out. One GM, one team, one pick. Let's get it on!
Draft Pick # 15
Team Name: Pittsburgh Steelers
Selection: (TE) Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Why the pick:
This decision was unusually easy. Eric Ebron was the top rated player available and plays a position that will be a position of need in the near future. While Heath Miller has been and may still be a good player, he is 31 and had knee surgery in 2012. Miller signed an extension last month, but the team could part ways with him after 2015 with little dead money or even after this season with manageable dead money. In the meantime, Ebron is talented enough that he could be put on the field with Miller by playing split out like a wide receiver. Ben Roethlesberger has indicated in the past that he likes tall receivers and word is that Pittsburgh wants to add a tall receiver. Mike Evans isn't available and Kelvin Benjamin would be a major reach. Ebron can provide a tall receiving threat as a split out TE. According to Walterfootball.com, Ebron is also a decent blocker in addition to being a top level receiving TE.
The over-riding factor in selecting Ebron is that I considered him a step above (for the Steelers) the next best players available - Calvin Pryor, Zack Martin, and HaHa Clinton-Dix.
Calvin Pryor reminds me of Troy Polamalu in that he is a great blitzer and big hitter while also being good in coverage. He could fill the spot vacated by Ryan Clark and play next to Polamalu before replacing him in the near future. However, I feel that Ebron is a better prospect.
While Zack Martin doesn't have great measurables, he flat out produces and is a high floor player. Pittsburgh's offensive line needs help, but the team has young talent in David DeCastro and Mike Adams along with other serviceable linemen. Additionally, the draft is deep in offensive lineman and a starting caliber offensive lineman should be available later.
HaHa Clinton-Dix is rated higher than Pryor by many analysts, but I feel that Pryor is a better fit for Pittsburgh's defense.
A bonus is that this sticks it to the Steelers' arch enemy Ravens, who may have Ebron rated as their best player available.
On the other hand, it would have been fun to see the comments on the blog if Ebron was available for Dallas at pick 16.
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS (lower number indicates higher priority) according to Drafttek.com
-- Threat Level Red (priority 1-2): Cornerback
-- Threat Level Orange (priority 3-4): Feature Receiver, 3-4 Defensive End, Tight End, 3-4 Outside Backer, 3-4 Middle Backer, Strong Safety, COP Back, Speed Receiver
-- Threat Level Yellow (priority 5-6): Feature Back, Guard, Left Tackle,
-- Threat Level Green (priority 9): Quarterback, Right Tackle, Center, 3-4 Defensive Tackle, Free Safety
-- Drafttek.com ranked #15 Overall, #1 at the position
-- Greg Gabriel, National Football Post: #12 Overall, #1 at the position
Ebron usually plays in the slot but will also line up in tight. He has adequate size for the position at 6'4" - 245. He looks taller because he is so long. With his long arms, he plays like a 6'6" guy. Ebron has good-to-really-good overall athleticism. He has very good speed (4.6 play speed) and shows body control, flexibility, and change of direction. When flexed out, he shows very good initial quickness. He can get into his routes quickly and has the cutting ability and burst to get out of a cut and gain separation. He needs improvement with his route running. He can find open areas in zones, but he can be sloppy with his routes versus man-to-man.
Eric has very good hands. He can snatch the ball and shows the ability to adjust to poorly thrown passes. He has the upper body flex to catch passes thrown to the back shoulder or behind him. He shows courage and toughness competing for the ball in traffic. After the catch, he is a very good runner. While he doesn't have the quick-footedness of a running back, he can make people miss in the open field and has the burst and speed to turn a short catch into a long gain. He has the power to break tackles, and when the ball is in his hands, he plays bigger than his listed size. Ebron is willing as a blocker. When playing in tight as a "Y", he can be a little tall in his stance, but he shows good initial quickness and has some snap on initial contact. He can have a tendency to get a little tall, and he doesn't consistently run his feet, but these should be easily correctable with good coaching.
Overall, Ebron has the traits clubs are looking for a "tight end" in today's NFL. He is best suited to play as a flexed out or move tight end. He lacks the bulk and overall size to be consistently effective in tight as a "Y" at the next level. He has the frame and length to add some bulk without losing any of his speed or athleticism
-- CBSSports.com ranked #11 overall, #1 at the position
-- DraftInsider.Net ranked #18 overall, #1 at the position
-- DraftCountdown ranked #10 overall, #1 at the position
-- Scout.com ranked #19 overall, #1 at the position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #1 at the position
-- Josh Norris ranked #15 overall, #1 at the position
-- NFLDraftScout.com profile (Rob Rang):
STRENGTHS: Smooth, gliding athlete with easy acceleration to speed past defenders in coverage and finish. Agile feet and dangerous after the catch to create with quick cuts to make defenders miss.
Quick release off the LOS with route fluidity and natural flexibility. Smooth adjustments to pluck the ball with his hands away from his body - large catching radius. Physical when he wants as a blocker with strong initial power at the point of attack. Very good toughness and plays unintimidated and confident. Good football awareness and plays alert.
Versatile experience lining up in-line, but mostly in the slot - also plays on special teams coverage. Still far from his ceiling.
WEAKNESSES: Still developing his body with room to add bulk and get stronger. Still learning how to use his size to his advantage. Needs to show more authority in his routes and is too easily redirected - needs to be more physical in this area to match up in tight spaces.
Needs to be more aggressive and strong at the catch point, especially in contested situations. Has his share of focus drops and needs to be more consistent finishing catches. Good length, but won't overwhelm defenders in the run game. Blocking technique needs developing - somewhat untested as an in-line blocker. Room to refine and sharpen his routes. Right shoulder injury in 2013.
COMPARES TO: Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers - Freaky athletic specimens, both Ebron and Davis move like wide receivers, but have the size and length of tight ends to create mismatches in coverage.
'13 Eric Ebron vs Pittsburgh
'13 Ebron vs Virginia Tech
Houston, Jadeveon Clowney,
St Louis Rams, Greg Robinson,
Jacksonville Jaguars, Johnny Manziel,
Cleveland Browns, Blake Bortles,
Oakland Raiders, Khalil Mack
Atlanta Falcons, Jake Matthews,
Tampa Bay Bucs, Teddy Bridgewater,
Minnesota Vikings, Aaron Donald
Buffalo Bills, Sammy Watkins
Detroit Lions, Anthony Barr
Tennessee Titans, Justin Gilbert
New York Giants, Taylor Lewan
St. Louis Rams, Mike Evans
Chicago Bears, Darqueze Denard