Green Bay Packers: Eric Ebron Wouldn't Be the Worst First-Round Pick

By Brad Berreman
Eric Ebron 2014 NFL Draft
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Despite having many key players sidelined by injury, the Green Bay Packers finished 8-7-1 and won the NFC North in 2013. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed seven games with a collarbone injury, but the Packers still finished in the top-10 of the league in total offense (400.3 yards per game: third) and scoring offense (26.1 points per game; tied for eighth).

Adding some pieces to a 25th-ranked defense (372.3 yards per game) that again struggled to force turnovers (11 interceptions) last season should be a priority in the draft, and adding another capable pass rusher to go along with linebacker Clay Matthews is annually on the team’s list of draft needs. But there is a notable need on the offensive side of the ball, and if a certain player is there Green Bay may have to take him with the 21st overall pick.

Jermichael Finley’s season-ending, and perhaps career-ending, neck injury last October left the Packers without a dynamic pass catching threat at tight end. Andrew Quarless started 10 games and performed admirably, with 32 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns, but the free agent departure of wide receiver James Jones has further thinned the arsenal of pass catchers available to Rodgers.

Eric Ebron had an excellent senior season at North Carolina in 2013, setting school records with 62 receptions and 973 yards along with three touchdowns, and he is clearly the top tight end in this year’s class. He struggled with drops at times last season but he is a potential matchup nightmare, at 6’4″ and 250 lbs with the athleticism of a big wide receiver.

Ebron has been mentioned as a possibility for the Buffalo Bills at No. 9 overall, and there are quite a few teams outside the top-10 that have a need at tight end as well. So general manager Ted Thompson may have to move up more than a handful of spots if he wants Ebron, but making such an aggressive move would be more than justified as he potentially becomes the best player available.

Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Follow him on Twitter or connect on Google +.

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