NFL Draft: Breaking Down the Top Tight End Prospects
By Dan Dahlke
Texas Tech Red Raiders wide receiver Jace Amaro (22). Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85). Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina: 6-4, 250 (4.60)
Ebron is a special talent at the position and is easily the top tight end prospect in this year’s draft. Ebron is more of an “oversized receiver” than he is a traditional in-line blocker.
The athletic prospect from North Carolina looks fluid in and out of his routes, can make tough catches over the middle of the field in traffic, and has the quickness to shake defensive backs in man coverage.
Ebron presents mismatch problems for defenses in the passing game, and that makes him very valuable in today’s NFL.
Having said this, Ebron’s game doesn’t come without its flaws. He’s not a great run blocker, which could be a problem and limit his offensive reps at the next level until he improves in this area. He also struggles with concentration at times and will drop some relatively easy catches.
Not to mention, immaturity and ego issues have been raised with Ebron, but these things can often be worked out or handled with a good coaching staff and strong locker room.
It seems unlikely Ebron will be available in the first round when the Packers pick at 21, but he may fall if teams pass on him because of these character concerns.
(Draft Projection: Round 1)
Texas Tech Red Raiders wide receiver Jace Amaro (22). Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech: 6-5, 265 (4.74)
Amaro didn’t wow anybody with his workout at the NFL Combine. He lacks the elite athleticism and speed at the position to be considered a sure-fire first round pick.
Amaro’s production in college does speak for itself, however. The Texas native caught 106 balls for a whopping 1,352 yards as a junior in 2013.
Amaro is a smooth route runner who can split out wide or in the slot and stretch the middle of the field. He has great length, a big catch radius, and presents a reliable target for quarterbacks over the middle of the field.
Amaro does need more work as an in-line blocker in base sets, but he has the size and strength to improve in this area in the NFL.
The former Red Raider could be a nice complement to Andrew Quarless for the Packers at the tight end position.
(Draft Projection: Rounds 1-2)