North Carolina Tar Heels tight end prospect Eric Ebron is one of the most talented pass-catchers in the 2014 NFL Draft class, and he will likely be one of the first 20 players off the board in May. While Ebron has inconsistent hands and clearly needs to put in a lot more work to make himself a better blocker, he is the most dynamic player at the tight end position. There is no doubt that Ebron is an incredible specimen with his athleticism, speed, agility, physicality, explosiveness, and play after the catch. A weapon in every sense, Ebron has all the tools to be a difference-maker, and he’s a good coach away from being a great player in the NFL.
There is no doubt that Ebron will be a hot commodity on draft day, and he told Pro Football Talk that he has four visits currently lined up (more could potentially be on their way). Those visits are to the Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and Buffalo Bills.
The Panthers already have an excellent, criminally underrated tight end in Greg Olsen, who is consistently one of the best TEs in the league. But the Panthers flirted with the idea of drafting Tyler Eifert in the first round in last year’s draft, and I wonder if they have interest in getting a TE duo going. Olsen and Ebron would be a dynamic, versatile duo for Cam Newton, who desperately needs pass-catchers. The Panthers unwisely put themselves in a situation where their top four wideouts left in free agency, so they could go after a local product like Ebron to fill their need for offensive weapons. In my view, the Panthers need to go for a true No. 1 WR in the first round of this year’s draft, but they might have a difficult time passing up on Ebron if he falls into the late first round and into the Panthers laps.
I think it’s a reach for Ebron to be picked in the top ten, but the Bills could make sense as a landing spot for Ebron. They could use a TE to pair up with the solid Scott Chandler, and I think E.J. Manuel needs a big weapon to throw it to. I’m not sure what the Ravens should do, but Ebron could make sense with their first-round pick if they are serious about making an incredible dynamic TE duo of Dennis Pitta and Ebron for Joe Flacco. If they draft a WR or TE in the first, then the Ravens will have turned the weapons around their franchise QB from a big weakness going into the offseason to a huge strength coming out of it.
As for the Lions, they could also be intrigued by the possibility of a TE pairing of Brandon Pettigrew (a former first-round pick) and Ebron to give Matthew Stafford, who now has a top WR2 in Golden Tate across from Calvin Johnson. I’d rather have Mike Evans, but Ebron would make sense.
Also watch for the New York Jets as a potential landing spot for Eric Ebron.