Through four games, not a lot has gone right for the 1-3 North Carolina Tar Heels. One bright spot, however, has been tight end Eric Ebron, who’s been increasing his NFL Draft stock tremendously this season.
Ebron, a 6-foot 4, 245-pound junior from Greensboro (NC), entered the 2013 season as a potential All-American after hauling in 40 receptions for 625 yards and four touchdowns last season. Playing in a wide open offense run by Larry Fedora, everyone expected Ebron to once again produce boisterous stats.
So far, so good. Through four games, Ebron leads the Tar Heels in receptions (17) and yards (263), and also has a touchdown reception. In the Heels’ close loss to conference foe Georgia Tech, Ebron showed his mettle, hauling in six receptions for 108 yards and one TD, his best performance to date.
Is Ebron the best tight end in the 2014 NFL Draft class? It’s very close, but I’d still have to give the slight edge to Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seferian-Jenkins, who also plays basketball for the Huskies, is a true physical freak at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds. He fits the mold of the new wave of huge, freakishly athletic tight ends like Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots) and Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints).
Ebron, though maybe not in the same level athletically as Seferian-Jenkins, might be the safest tight end prospect in this draft class. He’s got excellent speed for the position as evidenced by his ability to even slide out to the slot on some downs. He can stretch the seams vertically, has a knack for acrobatic catches and is a plus blocker. His hands can be inconsistent at times, but that’s not a surprise for a collegiate tight end.
Another thing to consider is that Ebron doesn’t make headlines for the wrong reasons. Seferian-Jenkins, on the other hand, made some headlines this past offseason with a DUI.
It’s still very early, and a lot can change between now and the Draft. Ebron is looking like a solid second round pick right now, but I could see him sliding into the back-end of the first with a strong final eight games and a good showing on the testing circuits.