North Carolina TE Eric Ebron believes he’s top prospect at his position

Posted Thursday, May. 01, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Eric Ebron said he’s fast, powerful, athletic and strong.

None of those rank as his top quality.

The North Carolina tight end is nothing if not confident.

“I’m not going to sell myself, but I’m very fast,” Ebron said. “I’m very different. I play the tight end role like no one else.”

Then, again, Ebron claimed to be a lot like San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.

“His speed,” Ebron said in explaining how they are similar. “He’s powerful. He’s very strong at the line of scrimmage. Love everything about him.”

Ebron broke Davis’ ACC single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. He had 973 receiving yards last season, 102 more than Davis had at Maryland in 2005.

Ebron played in 34 games in three seasons, making 112 catches for 1,805 yards and eight touchdowns.

“I just do different things than other tight ends do,” Ebron said. “If you watch film, you’ll probably say the same thing.”

Ebron’s blocking skills have come into question. He didn’t do a lot of it at North Carolina, and he didn’t do it particularly well.

“Every team wants a complete tight end, an all-purpose tight end, not one that can just run down the seam and catch passes,” Ebron said. “They want a guy that can block, too. I tell them that I’ve been working hard on it, which I have, and that I’m not bad at it, which everyone thinks. We’ll see.”

While he isn’t the perfect tight end, Ebron is the best tight end this draft offers. He could go as high as ninth to the Buffalo Bills. He also has been popular in mock drafts for the New York Giants at No. 12 and the Baltimore Ravens at No. 17.

Ebron could be the only tight end selected in the first round, though Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro hopes to sneak into the top 32.

“He’s not going to block,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said of Ebron. “He’s going to be a little inconsistent catching the ball, but he improved in that area this year. He’s not the toughest guy out there. You watch him, and there are some opportunities he has to go up for the football, and he goes up a little passively at times.”

Overview

North Carolina’s Eric Ebron has been compared to Vernon Davis. He is the star of the group and a potential top-15 pick, with many mocks having the Bills select him. Juniors, including Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, help this class, but it lacks depth. Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz could be the first senior tight end selected, and he likely won’t go before the third or fourth round. Overall, this group doesn’t excite scouts.

Cowboys’ needs

Jason Witten, 32, continues to rank as one of the league’s best at his position. He added to his career receiving totals with 73 receptions for 851 yards and eight touchdowns. It was one touchdown short of his career best. The Cowboys used a second-round pick on Gavin Escobar, but said all season he needs to get bigger and stronger. He finished with only nine catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns, playing only 206 snaps on offense. James Hanna was used more, getting 315 snaps with 12 catches for 73 yards. The Cowboys are not expected to draft a tight end.

Top five

Eric Ebron, North Carolina, 6-4, 250, 4.60. He broke Vernon Davis’ ACC single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 973.

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech, 6-5, 265, 4.74. He set the all-time FBS record for a tight end with 1,352 yards.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington, 6-6, 262, 4.75. He set school records for most career receptions (146), receiving yards (1,840) and TD receptions (21) by a TE.

Troy Niklas, Notre Dame, 6-6, 270, 4.84. He moved from LB to TE in 2012 and had 32 catches for 498 yards and five touchdowns in 2013.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa, 6-6, 265, 4.76. He had 30 catches for 299 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Sleeper

Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State, 6-3, 268, 4.68. He caught 71 passes for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games last season at the Division II school.

Top Texas ties

Crockett Gilmore, Colorado State, 6-6, 260, 4.89. The Bushland product, rated a fourth- or fifth-rounder, caught 43 passes for 533 yards and two touchdowns last season.

Jordan Najvar, Baylor, 6-6, 256, 4.93. He might get drafted after starting three years for the Bears.

Source: Heights, weights and 40 times were compiled from CBS Sportsline.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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