Oct 27, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85) with the ball as North Carolina State Wolfpack safety Earl Wolff (27) and safety Brandan Bishop (30) defend in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels defeated the Wolfpack 43-35 at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End Continues to be the Popular Choice for the Packers in Mock Drafts


 

Eric Ebron (85) is knocked out of bounds by Duke Blue Devils cornerback Bryon Fields (14) in the third quarter. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports photograph

FanSided released their week 16 2014 NFL mock draft, and with the Green Bay Packers moved down two spots in the first round after winning in Dallas, Jose Sanchez (FanSided’s NFL draft analyst) has Green Bay selecting tight end Eric Ebron from North Carolina with the 18th overall pick.

For three weeks in a row, Ebron has been the Packers choice in FanSided’s weekly mock draft. It’s apparent many believe tight end will be the Packers’ biggest need going into the 2014 season.

Other NFL sites, like Walterfootball.com, BleacherReport, and NFLDraftScout.com, all have the Packers going tight end with their first overall pick in the 2014 draft as well.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) makes a touchdown reception against the Idaho State Bengals during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, it appears only tight ends Ebron and Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro have first-round grades.University of Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins is another tight end that could sneak into the first round with a strong combine, but most likely, he’ll still be available in the second round.

The Packers definitely value tight ends. McCarthy likes to keep his roster well saturated at the position and use multiple tight end formations. The Ebron selection makes sense for Green Bay, especially if Jermichael Finley doesn’t return to the team next year.

Ebron is the most athletic tight end in this year’s draft class. He can split out wide and possesses the speed to burn linebackers and slower defensive backs downfield. For the most part, Ebron has good hands, but he can drop a pass occasionally when he’s contested over the middle.

Ebron needs to play a little stronger when going up for the ball in coverage, and he still needs to improve leaps and bounds in run blocking. The junior out of North Carolina has all the tools to be a big-time playmaker in the NFL, but he has still yet to put it all together, in my opinion.

Like we’ve said before when analyzing the Packers’ projected first round selection, Green Bay may decide to use their first pick by addressing the defense and take a tight end in a later round.

C.J. Fiedorowicz (86) runs the football against the Western Michigan Broncos. Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz would be a good pick in the second or third round, for example. He may be the most complete tight end in this year’s draft. He’s certainly the best blocking tight end out of the top prospects at the position, and he has pretty good hands too. Although he lacks elite athleticism, he has a good 6-6, 265-pound frame that makes him a big target over the middle of the field. Some have compared Fiedorowicz to Pittsburg’s Heath Miller.

The Packers will definitely need to add depth to the tight end position after this season, but with Andrew Quarless stringing together two strong performances, maybe Green Bay won’t be as desperate to find a clear starting tight end in the draft as we initially thought.

Quarless may not be on Finley’s level, but he seems to be an adequate starter. He’s recorded 12 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the past two weeks. If he finishes the season strong then maybe Green Bay can afford to take a tight end later in the draft. They could aim to just add depth behind Quarless on the roster and not feel the pressure to find their starter for the future at the position.

Tight end may not be the top need going into next season it initially appears to be. In my opinion, the Packers defense continues to be the concern going forward. Really, they could just pick the best available defensive player in the first round.

They could use help at every position on the defensive side of the ball–They need a starting-caliber safety alongside Morgan Burnett. They’ll need to replenish their defensive line with Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Johnny Jolly, and C.J. Wilson all set to hit free agency. They could use another playmaker at linebacker, and having another talented corner never hurts in today’s NFL.

Despite Ebron being a top-tier talent in this year’s draft class, the Packers can afford to wait on tight end, in my opinion, and should spend their first round selection on defense.

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Tags: Andrew Quarless Austin Seferian-Jenkins C.J. Fiedorowicz Eric Ebron Green Bay Packers NFL Draft

  • Vvait Fang

    Interesting idea, but you seem to forget that the Packers want a TE that can block extremely well. If Finley is iffy for next year (and his return or not is THE factor in whether they need a TE or not), but IF he’s not back, they would need someone. If JMike is back, then the Pack is sitting very pretty in the receivers. With 3 world class Wide outs, Boykin making a good bid to join that elite status, and (again, IF JMike is back) Finley and Quarless make for a nearly invincible bevy of bombers for A-Rod to target. Quarless has really come along the past few weeks, and still has upside.

    If they go for a TE, then how you describe Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz sounds a lot more like a fit for the Packers.

    But I would go for a stud safety, if there is one in this year’s draft. Maybe Sean Richardson will come along, but Burnett has been fading of late, when he should be peaking. I just don’t see ANY of the big safety hits that instill fear like too many of our opponents have shown. Safety first! Tight end only if the safety market gets tight, in the end! :)

    • Dan

      I completely agree with you. I think they should go safety in first round if there’s someone available worthy of the pick. I highlighted Fiedorowicz because he’s a good blocking TE with receiving skill that can be found in the 2nd or 3rd round. I like Ebron and Amaro but they’re not very good run blockers and may be too much of a liability in the run game to spend a first round pick on.

    • Lukeskywalker88

      I don’t completely agree with safety first; I want Raji’s replacement. If we can get Ha Ha in the first round, that would be an excellent pick, butLouis Nix III would be good, even though he is a slightly better suited to a 4-3 defense (or so I have read). Austin Seferian-Jenkins would be beast getting coached up in GB and Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball; I think he is an ideal second round pick.