2014 NFL Draft: Prospect Profile -- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

The best tight end in the draft. What can the explosive Eric Ebron bring to the Giants?

Born in Newark, N.J. Been a New York Giants fan all his life.

Seems like a good enough reason to draft Eric Ebron already. Oh, and I forgot to mention the fact that he's an absolute matchup nightmare. That, too. Let's use today's 2014 NFL Draft prospect profile to take a deeper look at what makes Eric Ebron the top tight end in this year's NFL draft.

Pros

- Catch radius is very, very strong. Likely second best in this year's class to Jace Amaro out of Texas Tech. Can go up and pluck the ball out of the air.

- Smooth route runner. Doesn't have perfect cuts, but his acceleration out of his break is absurd. The result is the ability to get open by running routes while leaving upside to get even better.

- Willing blocker. Shows aggressiveness and appropriate technique. Extends his arms fully, drives with his lower body, and generally just gets in the way.

- Fearless going over the middle and working the seam. Does not flinch or fear the big hit. Makes him a huge downfield target.

- Is very, very good at getting yards after the catch. Led all TEs in the draft in average yards after catch. Check this graphic from Rotoworld draft analyst Greg Peshek.

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via i.imgur.com

- Ebron is also a fantastic athlete. Maybe not a freak in the class of Vernon Davis, but still way above average.

Cons

- Just because he's a willing blocker doesn't mean he's very good at it. He's certainly not bad, but he is not close to guys like Troy Niklas out of Notre Dame. He needs to get stronger from the waist down and get more driving power.

- Not used to playing in-line. Would primarily be split out wide or in the slot.

- Has peaks and valleys in his game. Needs to get more consistent.

- Drops one or two easy passes each game.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Can't think of another prospect outside of Sammy Watkins who would excite new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo more. Ebron is a versatile matchup nightmare, faster than not only linebackers, but most safeties as well. He can out muscle and out fight corners. He has the route running to get to whatever spot Eli Manning targets. It'll be tough to overthrow him as well. If it sounds like I'm gushing, its because I am. The potential for him in a West Coast Offense is ridiculous.

Prospect Video

Eric Ebron vs Miami (2013) (via Adrian Ahufinger)

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 11

Mocking The Draft - 17

CBS Sports - 14

Draft Countdown - 10

Draft Tek - 17

Final Thoughts

Eric Ebron is one of the top players on my personal big board at any position because while he may look like a one-dimensional pass catcher on the surface, he has the upside in both blocking and receiving to really be a true complete dual threat. His ability to create after the catch is second to none in this tight end class and really, the skill set he brings couldn't be a better fit for what I imagine the Giants will be trying to do.

The bottom line for me is this: I think it's time for us to forget pigeonholing some players as "TE" because that is where they are assigned by some arbitrary force. If they can get on the field, get a mismatch, are big, are fast, can run routes, and catch the ball, I don't care if they are a RB, WR, FB, half back, H-back, TE, whatever.

We shouldn't have to keep saying, "oh, do you think it's worth it to invest in a tight end in the first round? I'd rather go wide receiver."

No. The thinking should be I want someone who will make the biggest difference for this offense. Eric Ebron is one of the top players in the draft in this regard. We can only hope that McAdoo and company think the same way. Time to throw away labels and put the best players on the field.

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