It’s finally that time of year. The time when underclassmen around the country start to declare themselves for the 2014 NFL Draft.
The first player to make clear their intensions to forego their senior season was North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, who announced on Monday that he will take his talents to the NFL at the end of the year.
“I’ve had a great time at Chapel Hill and I appreciate everything Coach Fedora and the coaching staff has done for me,” Ebron said. “Coming to Carolina allowed me to develop as both a person and a football player. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I look forward to finishing the season with my teammates and then moving on to the next level.”
Considered by many to be one of the top tight ends eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, Ebron made the right choice to declare. Nearing the end of a big junior year during which he has hauled in 50 passes for 774 yards and three touchdowns through 11 games, Ebron has his stock at an all-time high and doesn’t have much to gain from coming back for another season with the Tar Heels.
The biggest concern at the moment regarding his NFL outlook is his ability to run block. Ebron is a receiving tight end, and has yet to develop into a polished blocker. His technique and footwork still need some serious work, but his athleticism, seam-stretching abilities and physical tools make him too intriguing of a prospect to ignore. With a little help from NFL-caliber coaches, Ebron should be ready to contribute as a rookie.
At this moment, Ebron is jockeying with Texas Tech junior Jace Amaro for the top spot in the 2014 tight end rankings. Even if he loses out to Amaro in that race, Ebron is still seen as a Top 40 talent with a good chance to come off the board in the first round.
Ebron made the right decision to leave Chapel Hill and head for the NFL. If all goes as planned, he’ll hear his name called on May 8.