Heather Dinich of ESPN.com reported earlier this week that tight end Eric Ebron would forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
For a tight end-needy team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ebron’s entry into the draft represents a tremendous positive. In fact, a tight end with his skill-set is exactly what Pittsburgh’s offense could stand to add to their aerial arsenal at some point over the coming seasons.
After playing sparingly during his first season in Chapel Hill, Ebron (6’4″ 245 lbs.) has shined as a receiving threat for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Ebron racked up a combined 90 catches for 1,399 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2012 and 2013 campaigns, and the Steelers could very well be in the market for a tight end to groom behind Heath Miller.
Although Ebron is still a very young player and could definitely use some work in the run-blocking department, a tight end of his play-making caliber could make the Steelers’ offense even more dangerous.
For anyone who has watched the Steelers over the last few seasons, their offense could stand to use a tall and athletic play-maker to pair with Miller at tight end in “12” personnel sets in the present.
A player with his skill-set would give the Steelers a physically imposing target for Ben Roethlisberger to find in the passing game. Due to his athleticism, Ebron could line up in a number of different places (in-line, slot, outside) and help to create mismatches against linebackers and safeties.
Plus, it wouldn’t hurt that he also could take pressure off of Pittsburgh’s other talented play-makers on the offensive side of the ball as well.
Whether it is Ebron, Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro or somebody else, tight end needs to be high on the radars of Pittsburgh’s scouting personnel during the offseason.
Although I’m not advocating that the Steelers need to address the tight end position in the first round, an insurance policy behind Miller needs to be found. Moreover, providing a Pro Bowl signal-caller like Roethlisberger with more weapons is hardly a bad thing either.
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