In his latest mock, Pat Kirwan of CBS has the Pittsburgh Steelers taking TE Eric Ebron from North Carolina. It’s a change from his last mock, which had the Steelers nabbing DT Ra’shede Hageman. As I claimed a ways back, Ebron would be a good pick by the Steelers, and I would not be shocked if Kirwan is correct with this pick.
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Steelers will not reach for a corner, though they could consider a defensive lineman like RaShede Hageman, but Ebron is a matchup problem for defenses and a guy who would take pressure off of Ben Roethlisberger.
With the addition of former Buffalo Bills FA Cam Thomas to the roster, the Steelers (for now), could be content with their defensive tackle needs for the time being. Cam Thomas plugs a rather large hole left when the team did not bring back Big Snack and when no one on the 2013 roster stepped up into a dominant role at the NT position. Is Thomas a Casey Hampton type player? Not likely, but he is an upgrade from 2013, and that’s a step in the right direction.
Steeler Nation has heard all offseason the arguments from both sides of the ball as to what the greatest need is. A selection like Ebron could satisfy several needs with just one phone call from the war room. Ebron’s height and quick speed puts someone on the field that Ben Roethlisberger could utilize either down or across the middle. His height could make him a good option for a TE fade to the corner of the end zone – or heck, just stand in the back of the end zone and jump over a safety to get the ball. Ebron also serves the need of finding the heir to Heath Miller while providing a 1-2 punch in two TE sets that the Steelers missed when Matt Speath (shocker, I know) didn’t get the job done.
Of course, many are clamoring for the Steelers to take a tall and fast wide out. It’s a deep draft this year, and the Steelers could find that wide out in later rounds. Guys like Benjamin and Cooks will more than likely be off the boards by the time the 15th pick rolls around. The Steelers will have a hard time trading up the board unless they give up a lot, and to trade down would potentially have them miss out on someone like Ebron – rumors have the Ravens also looking heavily at Ebron.
It wouldn’t be the sexiest of 1st round picks, but I think Ebron could make a huge impact early on for this offense that would turn into points on the scoreboard. And that’s what exactly this team needs and is looking for.