2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – North Carolina TE Eric Ebron

We are well on our way to breaking down as many players as possible leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft. Several of these players that we are scouting are potentially fits for the Pittsburgh Steelers and we hope you enjoy these profiles.

Today, we’ll discuss North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron.

Eric Ebron/TE North Carolina: 6’4 245

The Good

– Classic NFL hybrid tight end

– Deceptive speed

– Athletic

– Gets off line well

– Willing blocker

– In-line experience

– Above average route runner

– Will only be 21

– Large catch radius

The Bad

– Doesn’t always use size as an advantage

– Mental lapses led to drops

– Not great in traffic

– Will short arm catches at times

– Limited red zone production

– Could be more physical

– In-line blocking needs work

– Needs to get stronger

– Not great on special teams

Other

– 2013 All-ACC First Team

– 2013 Mackey Award Finalist

– 2013 Midseason All-America First Team – Phil Steele

– 2013 Midseason All-America Second Team – SI.com, CBSSports.com

– 2013 Mackey Award Midseason Watch List

– 2013 Preseason All-ACC

– 2013 Mackey Award Watch List

– 2012 All-ACC Second Team (Coaches and Media)

– 64.6% catch rate in 2013

– 10 third down catches resulting in 9 first downs in 2013

– 13 catches of 20 yards or more in 2013

– 2 red zone touchdown catches on 9 total targets in 2013.

Ebron is a classic hybrid tight end type that can not only play in the slot, but out wide as well. This also includes lining up as an in-line blocker. He is athletic and possesses great control of his body. In the NFL these days, teams try to be as multiple as they possibly can on offense in order to create mismatches based on what personnel and defenses they face.

As a route runner, Ebron looks fluid off of the line and being as he is usually never pressed, he gets off the line quickly and out into his routes without issue. He will easy run away from linebackers and most safeties up the seam or on a shallow cross and depending on the cornerback that he faces, can gain separation on the outside. Due to his hybridness, North Carolina wasn’t afraid to use him on quick screens to either side of the field. You really don’t see too much of that in the NFL.

As far as Ebron’s athleticism goes, the play below is a great example of it. He gets off of the line quickly out of a three-point stance, makes his cut on the shallow cross and hurdles his first would-be tackler.

The next two plays are good examples of Ebron’s catch radius. One is a superb one-handed catch of a poor throw, while the other features him plucking a ball down near his feet.

Ebron has his warts, however, as he didn’t show to be great at making catches in traffic in the games I watched. In addition, he had his share of drops in 2013 as well. Below are examples.

This was a great route out of the slot and down the seam, but he fails to haul in the perfect pass with a defensive back bearing down on him.

In this clip, he again short-arms the pass in traffic at the goal-line and the ball goes right off of his hands when it should have been an easy touchdown.

Ebron really does have deceptive long speed and as a result he can run away from people after the catch like he did below against Miami.

Below is a good example of Ebron being split outside wide against a cornerback playing press. He easily gets separation on an angle route and secures the catch for a first down.

As far as Ebron’s blocking goes, he is much better out in space than he is in-line. He has the willingness and basics down when taking on athletic pass rushers or big defensive tackles, but every two successful blocks you will find on tape, there is an instance or two of him getting blown up as well. He needs a stronger base underneath him, and must get stronger up top. His in-line technique needs a lot of work, but at least it is not foreign to him. Below are some clips of both good and bad.

Ebron is certain to be the first or second tight end off the board in May and he should be available to the Steelers at 15. If he is to be the successor to Heath Miller, it will be because the team firmly believes that he can develop a lot more as an in-line blocker. However, he will never be the blocker that Miller was early on his career, in my opinion. I know that’s asking a lot, but that may factor greatly into whether or not he’s selected 15th overall. He is still young, however, and figures to fill out his frame a little more at the next level. Maybe I am underestimating him a little, so we’ll see. Ebron is a dangerous weapon to have in the passing game and several teams such as the New England Patriots will value that, especially being that he is more well-rounded than most.

Unless anything character related pops up with Ebron, I expect him to be drafted somewhere in the first round and most likely within the top 25 picks. If he falls past that range, I doubt he makes it past the Patriots.

Projection: Top Twenty-Five

Games Watched: vs. Miami, vs. Duke, vs. Cincinnati (Bowl)

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • kev4heels

    Ebron has some serious speed for a TE. He looks like a bulked up WR who runs 4.55. The blocking needs work though. Of course, most TE’s coming out of college need to be taught how to effectively block NFL DE’s/OLB’s.

    Nice job Dave.

  • mlc43

    I’m more of a fan of Jace Amaro at TE. He’s taller, bigger, just as fast and more productive. They are both “hybrid” type TEs and will need to develop their blocking skills in the NFL.

  • JAMESH

    Thanks, Dave. Miller will soon be 32 and his contract is up after the 2014 season. Paulson, Palmer, and D.Johnson are barely backups let alone starters. Spaeth is Spaeth. We need to find a TE who will start no later than 2015 as the number 1 or 2 TE.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I’m going to have to stop you right there. Amaro is NOT just as fast. Amaro is a better “over the head” catcher but shows completely nothing as a blocker. Ebron is a total package and more proven. The argument for “Heath Miller’s blocking” well first of all, he’s a decent, above-average blocker. He was never that great to begin with, we just got stuck with it because he’s the most complete tight end we ever had.

  • steeltown

    Agreed, especially considering Spaeth is signed through 2014 it would be great to have a young guy to learn behind he and Miller this year and then take over the #2 spot next year, with hopes he will succeed Miller

  • STEELCAN

    As I have mentioned before, if the Steelers want a “big bodied reciever” in the first round, Ebron (or even Amaro) is the way to go. Word is Ebron is already up to 255 and while he needs to work on his run blocking, I really like his “want to” in that area. When its all said and done, I think he or Amaro, would bring way more to the Steelers offence than Evans or Benjamin, thus better value in Rd 1. Also the WR class is pretty deep this year, and they could find a bigger #2 or #3 guy in about rd 4. Good luck finding an Ebron or Amaro there.

  • Chad H

    If he is there take him. It is a position of need. By the time we pick the #1 and 2 tackles will be gone the #1 and 2 WRs will be gone #1 CB (over rated) will be gone and #1 and possibly #2 OLBs will be gone. So if we can get a 1st rd #1 in a position of need then take him. I don’t see 1st rd talent at safety this year.

  • John Hinton

    This is the post I’ve been waiting to see – thanks Dave. I wanted the Steelers to draft Eifert or Ertz last year and both did work for their teams this year. In my opinion, Ebron (E Double is what I’ll call him) would be a wise choice if he’s still on the board at 1.15.

  • SumnerYoung

    Ebron looks like he could be a matchup nightmare at the next level. And only 21 years old? That’s a bonus. Drafting him seems to make sense considering Heath’s age, recent knee injury, and final contract year. AB, Le’Veon, Heath, Wheaton, Jericho (if resigned), and Ebron …. that’s a nice arsenal of offensive weapons. Maybe throw another free agent RB/WR into the mix like McCluster.

  • RW

    Would love Ebron. Probably would be the only offensive player I’d be completely happy with in the first round.

  • Callentown

    Man, this is a tough one. We clearly need a TE in this year’s draft.

    That said, our Defensive needs far outweigh this need. The BPA approach will still make sense but if there’s a stud Defensive player that will fit the bill, it will be hard to draft for the offense in rd. 1.

    The only player I’ve seen that is an absolute to draft if he is there for the offense is Sammy Watkins. He ‘should’ be gone, but if teams continue to be enamored with the big receiving threat and he somehow falls… Well, I’d take him over any of the TE’s.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Damn this guy looks good already with loads of upside still. Even though they need so much so soon on defense, he may be hard to pass up in the new NFL. Also, while it will take time to build a great defense, you have to start thinking that you need to have an explosive offense, that’s capable of scoring 30+ when you get in a shootout. Thus, you can’t have enough weapons.

  • steeltown

    Agreed

  • ATL96STEELER

    On the good luck part…I do agree with you, but imo the key are the QBs…if they start flying off the board as early as many think, coupled with Clowney, Barr, Matthews, Mack and Watkins at the top of the draft I think one of the TEs will be on the board @ 15 along with Benjamin actually.

    So many teams (incl PIT) need OTs that I would be surprised…also the kid from WAS is expected to be the 3rd TE off the board in the 1st rd likely.

    Now…to your point TE or big WR…both Amaro and Ebron can get deep, and be RZ factors…if they are there I agree…a bigger WR can be found later in the draft.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Ebron will be the 1st TE off the board…I’m still in the camp of Hageman @ 15, but if he’s gone my attention would shift to OFC…agreed wholeheartedly…that side of the ball is much closer to being complete and the big playmaker is the missing pc…I love Ebron’s game, but I would not be disappointed for Hageman @ 15 and Matthews @ 47.

  • steeltown

    Yep, the offense is improving no doubt with the emergence of A.Brown and the drafting of Le’Veon Bell, but we need a few more pieces and we NEED to score more pts

  • Virdin Barzey

    Couldn’t agree anymore. Have no problem getting one of these guys with the 15th pick. Ebron looks good but I’m not a fan of TE who aren’t good blockers. He needs work.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree, Sammy Watkins will be way gone before our pick though. He’s a better prospect than Calvin Johnson was and as much defense need improvements; do you see any defensive prospects by our pick (assuming Barr, Clowney, and Mack all are gone) will start day one? Mosley, as much I like him as a player, I don’t see him being the pick and is a Timmons 2.0. Hagmaan is a luxury player, project. Nix is fat and injury-prone. Offense is the way to go in 1st, you can find 2 or 3 players who can start day one within the pick. I do foresee the remaining draft to be defensive-heavy.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Agree with your thinking on the DEF stud, but I’m not seeing many guys aside from Hageman, Tuitt, and maybe Mack…on Watkins…I would not…I like him, and I expect him to be good, not not in the vein of a Julio or AJ…I’d look for his sidekick Bryant in the 2nd or 3rd round.

  • ATL96STEELER

    idk about Hageman starting day one, but during the season I think he would start…Mosley is not the direction I would go…just don’t see ILB as a huge need.

    I do agree the biggest impact they can make @ 15 is an OFC player.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I wouldn’t say big WRs can be found later in draft. Usually if they are there, its because they are so bad (think Marcus Davis from Va Tech, last year whom I done beat up in high school) and the “best latter tall wide receiver” right now is M. Bryant from Clemson. At 6’5″ 200 lbs, reportedly ran faster than S. Watkins is borderline 2nd and 3rd round pick until combine, will go higher. Getting a big receiver is overblown though. Its separation we need, not big-body. Hines Ward even was considered a red-zone and big WR, at 6’0″ because of his ability to get separation and catch 1,934,391% ratio of catches.

  • JT

    I know there is a lot to love about this kid…. But how can limited Redzone production not sacre you? That’s been the biggest obstacle for the offense. I know he can grow into the role, but it’s not a great way to plug and play him. And we know he doesn’t block in line as wellaas the Steelers would like. So it he a great spark plug for the Steelers, specifically? I don’t know. But heuundoubtedly has a great ceiling. I’m also surprised that “needs to get stronger” isn’t a bigger red flag for most since that was Jarvis ‘s problem this year.

    I also find it very interesting that were running Sanders out of town for mental lapses and drops, but both Ebron and Benjamin suffer from the same problem and they’re everyone’s favorite at 15.

  • ATL96STEELER

    You reinforced my thoughts on the big WR…separation…you don’t always need it with a bigger bodied guy…whereas with most smaller WRs you do as you mentioned.

    Can’t find them later…Da’Rick Rogers was a guy

    i wanted LY…kid got into some trouble @ TN and was kicked off the team…resumed his career @ Tn Tech…went undrafted…now making plays for the Colts. You mentioned Bryant…I’m aware of him…likely a 2nd or 3rd round guy pending the combine results.

    Don’t get me wrong…DaRick Rogers, or the Bryant kid may never be a star players, but the potential is there, and you simply cannot teach size.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Good points…Sanders’ contract is running him out of town…idk that the draft has any NFL ready players…all these kids will need to be coached up to some degree.

    I am curious in the direction you would go.

  • srdan

    From these couple highlihgts, athletically he looks to me like a faster Gresham. A lot better prospect than Eifert last year. Would like to see someone like this on our team. The way this draft is shaping up, we are definitely going to be in the market for a redzone threat. I still would prefer that it is not in the first round.

  • JT

    Agreed on Watkins. Far and away the top receiving playmaker. But that would take a crazy draft day. Here’s hoping!

    If Denard and/Haha are there at 15, it’d be very hard not to address the secondary. Ideally, trade 15 for someone who wants Ebron and grab someone like Gilbert late in the 1st and get a big WR or TE with the extra picks.

  • JT

    Watkins is probably the closest thing. Which is why he’ll be gone by 15. I wouldn’t hate Ebron, I just have a little more apprehension than most. I don’t see the Steelers running there pick in for Ebron like DeCastro.

    You have to address the secondary. It’s the biggest problem now, and in the future for the team. They have to take a hard look at Denard and Ha Ha. And with Ebron still on the board at 15, it presents great trade value to get as much invested in the back end as possible.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Ebron is a receiving TE who can blocks. He has some issues and inconsistency within his blocking, just doesn’t mean he can’t block. He blocked Clowney on isolation blocking, twice. I’m not concerned about his blocking, he’ll develop. He has much more strength than Heath Miller would.

  • ATL96STEELER

    CB…none of the 1st round guys really excite me enough to take @ 15…this is a position I’m more comfortable taking guys like Purifoy or Robertson in the 2nd round…Dix…same thing…Pryor or Buccanon seem plike better value.

    Trade…yes I would move back for the right deal, but 15 & 47 offer the chance to get 2 starters at some point in the ’14 season.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree. I like him or that kid from Wisconsin (Abbrederius) who is 6’1″ 190 lbs but easily the best route-runner of the draft. If we keep Manny Sanders, he’ll do, with Ebron (just if) our offense’d open up much more with more weapons, keep this in mind we have Cotchery and Wheaton (Wheaton IS not a #2 or split-out receiver, he’s more of a slot wide receiver).

    I think the kid from Wisconsin is more likely for few reasons; his route-running is on same par or better as Manny Sanders, is a better blocker, and the QB’s throws all were so terrible Abbrederius developed big catching radius.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    You do understand that most of the time redzone production came from the quarterback right? Are you really stating Ebron’s dropping issues? Calvin Johnson’s worse. Many TEs are worse. Ebron made most of plays within bad throws. His redzone production is not at his fault. You are right, Ebron wouldn’t block as how Steelers would like him to; Steelers would love how he blocks! Has more strength than Heath Miller, he held his ground against Clowney alone, twice. Is much more of an opened-space blocker, something we desperately need.

    Benjamin is different case: just check out his catching ratio. You will see the difference.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Cornerbacks? Safeties in first round? Who? None warranted for 1st round pick, Steelers just don’t draft a 1st round cornerback, Rod Woodson was the last one and he was quite special. Sunseri is a better prospect than Haha is and he’ll be there between 4th-5th round. You can’t address the needs if value aren’t there.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I really like that kid, Pierre Desir, he’ll be there in 2nd and is a better/pro-ready cornerback. He’s big too, got athleticism and fluidity with some savvy veteran moves that you see Dennard makes.

  • mlc43

    Well, I’m glad you are stopping me. Whatever will I do. I guess we better strike up a write in campaign due to misinformation. I will never again state that a person is just as fast as another based on the stated 40 times. Whatever was I thinking!!!!??? I feel so foolish now.
    I’ll also be careful to not to ever again have a preference between the top two players at their position. You’ve made me embarrassed with your eloquent rebuttal.
    Just one question. Is the sarcasm apparent?

  • Virdin Barzey

    No one said he can’t block but it clear that he’s not a very good blocker. Can he become one? Sure….but it will take work. Comparing him to Heath is silly? When healthy few TEs better than Heath regardless of strength.

  • David Edward

    As I expected, there’s a lot of love on here for Ebron. He has the ability to make some of those “wow” catches, and while not a burner like Vernon Davis, he has the speed to get YAC. He actually is capable as an in-line guy which is a plus for a hybrid, but at the NFL level, he will have to get stronger and more agressive in his blocking.
    If you get beyond the highlight reel (important so that you don’t develop man-crushes), you’ll notice that he drops a fair share of “easy” catches, and isn’t necessarily a guy who’s “open” when he’s covered.
    While I rated Eifert as a better overall TE prospect last year, I do think Ebron is close in that he is more than just a big WR playing hybrid TE. I like that he can split out and take a screen and get some YAC, which would be a good fit with Haley. I also like that he is at least a willing blocker at this point. I put him there with Evans and Benjamin as the three first round big body receivers worthy of consideration. Although, considering that they passed on the #1 TE last year, it will be interesting to see if they do it again this year, and if so, for whom.

  • Asmitty56

    I’d love Ebron to be our pick at 15 along with guys like Watkins (if we were so lucky), Ra’Shede Hageman, CJ Mosley, and Stephon Tuitt. Ebron gives the Steelers the ability to run more double TE formations and more no huddle thanks to flexibility with running and passing. They can go from 2 WR and 2 TEs with Bell in the back field power formations to spreading them all out wide in the drop of the hat and the defense can’t substitute to compensate.

  • Asmitty56

    It’s at lest reasonable that he will be the #2 TE and not the main guy so he will have time to iron out the kinks. Ebron can still get stronger as well, it depends a lot on how well he looks at the combine and in practices

  • Asmitty56

    except Amaro hardly ever lined up in line and has very little to offer in blocking. If we’re taking a TE I’d rather it be Ebron or ASJ, or wait and get Troy Niklas in the 2nd round or hope C.J. Fiedorowicz drops to their comp pick in the 3rd.

  • Asmitty56

    Watkins is no where near the prospect Johnson was. Johnson has a size, speed, catching ability, and strength combination that is unmatched, ever. I do like Watkins though, he’d be a perfect fit. Mosley being a Timmons 2.0 is actually perfect, we need another ILB with speed and coverage ability, he might be more athletic than Timmons and has more football knowledge than what Timmons had as a rookie. They could play CJ at Mack and let him help in coverage and play sideline to sideline, while Timmons can man the Buck position, while he’ll still have a good deal of coverage responsibility, but he could also make play in the backfield more. Hageman is anything but a luxury pick, if you want to win you have to dominate in the trenches, Hageman improves the DL and could be a comparable player to Hageman. He gives the defense the flexibility to play all over and in different schemes which LeBeau will love.

  • Asmitty56

    Not sure who Watkins would really compare to, but you can’t beat his first step, explosiveness, and YAC ability. I’d also throw in Mosley in there as well, you may not like him but he compares a good bit to Timmons which I’d consider a positive.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Trade back or out of the first round even. If we’re able to pick at the back if the 1st there’s better value for prospects who slip a bit. Actually anytime you pick after Dallas presents good value as Señor Jones can “waste” picks with his overvaluing of players.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Only thing calvin johnson has over Watkins is size. He has positional advantage because of the size he has, just like Lebron James. Just doesn’t make him the “best shooter” because stats are there. Calvin disappears a lot in games and have less than 50% catching ratio, but its all numbers game because if you are facing goaline with a 1st down and goal; you are going to throw up high to Calvin Johnson for all downs… Odds are he’s going to make them because of odds. That still doesn’t make him the better prospect. In a big sample of size per production, Watkins is a better product; Calvin’s size shadows his weaknesses and struggles. Now those are facts.

    As for Mosley- um… who’s going to take up a blocker that we don’t have a true run-stuffing nose tackle? Mosley? Haha. Timmons is a chase LB, a MACK LB- we need a BUCK, Timmons can’t even play Buck position right and its NOT a secret. Mosley is a great player but we have Timmons already.

    Hagemaan is a LUXURY pick. What position is he going to play? NT? DE? How much of improvement will he be from McLendon or say, Ziggy Hood? You draft a player in 1st round to improve such position, not to “upgrade” from what already were decent/good, and Defensive linemen weren’t our biggest issue with our defense to begin with. Also you just don’t go for 2 stars on D-linemen especially in our scheme when they are asked to NOT pass-rush, Hagemaan’s biggest strength is pass-rushing. Now we would be taking away that- now what? We got to go offensive with 1st round and I don’t see many that disagree with me unless an elitepospect fall to us (watkins, clowney, barr, or mack).

  • Matt Manzo

    Just looked into him! Thanx for the tip! He sounds like what I’ve been hoping for! Shrine game practice reports are great on him! If he was for sure our 2nd rndr, do we go WR in 1st or wait til end of the 3rd?

  • mlc43

    I do like C.J. Fiedorowicz as well. I think he has a lot of upside. I would be thrilled if he was available in the 3rd.

  • Matt Manzo

    My only concern with that is waiting til end of the 3rd to get a CB. Any prospects for CB in the 3rd/4th that stand out?

  • dkoy85

    Actually the D-line has been asked to pass rush more than before. Hageman would improve the position- I’m not sold on Hood.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Only because Worilds is our ONLY reliable pass-rusher this season. There were a little change in how we use Cameron Heyward, no wonder he’s been able to make plays. If anything, as much I hate it to be this but OLB has to be the pick before DL or ILB with our first pick, that being said… a “Best Receiver Available if he is the BPA as well” (BRAIHITBPAAW, omg I love that phrase already!) Should be the pick. Hageman is also a strong case of “boom or bust” prospect. Somebody Steelers usually stay away from in 1st.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Borderline 2nd/3rd favorite of mine is Piere Desir. Bradley Roby, that TCU kid, and Kyle Fuller all could be gone by end of 2nd. I’d go with a cornerback in 2nd

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Pierre Desir is a small-school kid who is actually big for his position (6’1″ 205 lbs) and has plenty of fluidity and athleticism along with savvy veteran movesthat will boost his playing time in NFL. He’s playing in West vs East shrine and throughout the practices he didn’t disappoint at all. A potential #1 cornerback that could be snatched in 2nd round right there.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Eh I say wait til 3rd or 4th depends on who’s left. I like Abbrederius from Wisconsin. I also realized I already responded to two of your questions twice lol I’m on my phone so I had to scroll all way down.

    Ideally free agency would be a good idea for a #2 WR because the market for #2 is small and you want a player with veteran attitude who wouldn’t demand balls too much.

  • Aric Brown

    I like this but i’d rather trade back and get Seferian-Jenkins… this would still allow us to do the same thing and kill 2 birds with one stone in giving us a huge target (6’6 or 6’7)

  • Matt Manzo

    Yeah, I’m liking Desir in 2nd. I think that frees is up to go playmaker in the 1st. I’m starting to like Ebron at 1 and Desir at 2. That seems to kill 3 birds with 2 stones? Big WR/Heaths replacement, and Ike’s replacement!
    Any chance Pryor is there at our comp pick?

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Pryor from Florida State right? He could… he’s only 5’8″ though and we already have Shamarko (somewhat similar but Joyner is more of a Mathieu kind) I actually had us getting Attaochu the OLB in 3rd, Vinnie Sunseri from Bama in 4th comp pick, Abbrederius the WR with 4th pick, Andrew Jackson the ILB from WKU with 5th, Ryan Carrethers the nose tackle with 5th comp pick, Dozier the guard from Furman in 6th.. and Stephen Clark the punter from Auburn with our last pick.

    Those are my mock draft for now based on the projects they have now, although many of those players will rise on board.

  • Matt Manzo

    I see 2different 40 times for Jenkins, 4.6 and 4.78, do we know which ones more realistic?

  • grw1960

    great videos and breakdowns

  • Aric Brown

    We’ll find out soon… for perspective Rob Gronkowski was listed with an unofficial (which usually is a bit faster than what they actually run) 4.68… I’ve seen projected 40 times for Jenkins to run a 4.6 to 4.65

  • Callentown

    I see Watkins as a cross between Fitz and Percy (minus the injuries).

  • Callentown

    It’s hard to say as a lot of teams would like to trade down and pick up an extra pick.

    Clinton-Dix, Jason Verrett and Hageman are all players that I believe would work their way into the lineup over the course of the first year. CB would be my first choice as we seriously need a new #1. Just don’t prefer Verrett’s size.

    I think in the second round, we have a chance at Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

  • Callentown

    Hood is just a placekeeper until the team finds a DL who can really man that position. Hageman is a beast and huge. He’s going to give O-lineman problems right away because of his size/strength. But, of course, we all know it takes time to get into the lineup with LeBeau.

  • Callentown

    I like the direction you’re going. Ideally, trading down, of course.

    But if they don’t, well it probably depends on what happened before their pick as there are always a few surprises and a couple who ‘should not’ be there, that are.

    Here’s hoping one falls to us at 15.

    I just think our offense has surpassed our D. And the D, IMO, is the heart and soul of a team.

  • Callentown

    Curious about 6-3, 220 lb Stanley Jean-Baptiste. He’s a bit raw, but has some good hands (a nice change) and could cover bigger receiving threats once he understands the NFL level. May be a bit of a project at first though.

  • Matt Manzo

    I meant Pryor from Louisville. I’ve seen some say he goes in the 2nd and some say the 4th?

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Oh yeah he’s a hard-hitting safety. I notice his teammate more; Hakeem Smith. Whenever ball is there, you’ll see Smith’s number there. Both are expected to run over 4.6, not quite athletic and I will check out their shuttle and 3 cones number, because those are numbers I’m interested in. You got to be able to make a recovery when getting burnt.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Ziggy Hood, Steve McLendon, Al Woods, Brian Arnfelt, and Nick Williams. Those guys are perfect for our 3-4, with rotations. I still want Ziggy Hood back and hope he is. He’d be better off pairing up with McLendon at NT, let McLendon, Woods, or the youngsters get PT at other side.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    His receiving alone would make him a #1 TE easily but I do agree that he’d likely to be our #2 until he develops or gains coaching staffs’ trust.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    he’s definitely got Gronkowski similar numbers. Maybe little tad slower but has really great agility for shaking off the defenders. I’d say late 4.6, still manageable, Heath Miller ran 4.83.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I actually see him as a free safety at next level. Got quite athleticism for his size but if he’s going to play in our defense odds are he’s going to be a career “bump and run” like Keenan Lewis or a free safety. I can see a strong duo of Jean-Baptiste and Shamarko Thomas as safeties for our defense next 10 years and with those names… how cool is it considering other team have duo of “Thomas and Chancellor” lol

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I’d say his lowest ceiling is Torrey Smith and highest, well… a combination of Dez Bryant and Antonio Brown. Watkins is a lot more physical than people would think, he’s fearless.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Yeah and it sucks seeing our defense being worst since well.. I don’t know, haven’t seen our defense this bad as long I have been alive but statistically-wise i’d have to say 80’s? Maybe early 2000’s? I don’t know. Problem is our defense is much more younger than people would think and I say you just give them time to develop, especially our LBs and the secondary (Shamarko and Cortez Allen) so in first round I say give our offense a boost and develop a new unit of defense with the remaining othe draft.

    If our salary cap weren’t so tight, i’d propose the signing of Brandon Spikes, he’s a free agent. I think I do see a decent defensive FA signing this off-season though. When you are 8-8 in consecutive seasons, no point in trying to retain such players for the purpose of “super bowls” like we did in past so yeah we probably will let two biggest names on defense go this and next seasons. I’m thinking Polamalu next season and maybe Lamarr Woodley, but I can see a trade for Woodley maybe to the Titans for a 2nd round. Whisenhunt need a new set of defense (he’s switching the defense to 3-4) and will need a good linebacker. For a 2nd round I think its a good price.

  • Asmitty56

    The only reason Johnson disappears would be because of Stafford not throwing him the ball, or not throwing it well enough. You also have to account for Johnson’s leaping ability and strength to fight for the ball and beating press man. You don’t get over 2000 yards receiving just by being tall, he’s the best WR in the NFL for a reason. I’d say the one thing Watkins does have would be that he is a more explosive athlete in his first steps up field and coming out of his breaks. But he lacks what is a strength for Johnson which is physicality in beating press man and fighting for contested balls, he’s not very much of a vertical catcher either. I’m not saying I don’t like Watkins because I’d take him in a heat beat, but saying he’s a better prospect than Johnson is silly, the guy was the 2nd overall pick.

  • Asmitty56

    Not sure what you’re trying to get at that Timmons can’t play Buck. Timmons is very much a complete ILB, he may not take on blockers as well as some LBs in the league but he get’s the job done. He just happens to be a better player at Mack duo to his athleticism. The traditional Buck ILB is extinct, or are at lest endangered.. If an ILB can’t play the pass then they will never be anything more than a 2 down LB, and those types are plentiful in the 6th and lower rounds (Vince Williams). Not everyone can be a Patrick Willis or Navarro Bowman. I’d gladly take Mosley and make him the chase LB since he has better coverage skills and athleticism than Timmons, and move Timmons to Buck. Teams are transitioning to more athletic LBs and that’s a fact, the only place that doesn’t really apply to would be NE.

  • Asmitty56

    Well seeing as the only offensive players worth drafting at 15 are Sammy Watkins and Eric Ebron then I would suggest on not banking on it. The only other offensive player I could see them taking would be a LT, and that would only be if their big board was whipped clean by pick ahead of them or a good prospect fell to them. It would be safe to say they will take the best player of WR Sammy Watkins, OLB Anthony Barr, OLB Khalil Mack, DE Ra’Shede Hageman, ILB CJ Mosley, TE Eric Ebron, CB Darqueze Dennard, CB Justin Gilbert and DE Stephon Tuitt. You could add in OT Greg Robinson and OT Cyrus Kouandjio if the Steelers simply fall in love with or if they feel Beachum will not be their franchise LT.

  • Asmitty56

    You do realize that the Steelers defense played in more nickel than base this season? That means more 2 down lineman or heavy nickel with 4 down lineman. You do realize that the Steelers defense has increased in 1 gapping usage the past few seasons? That means instead of the linemen stalemating a lineman or two at the LOS, occupying space and shutting down 2 gaps, diagnose the play and track the ball carrier and then disengaging from the linemen and shutting down the gap and making the tackle (2 gap scheme, your traditional 3-4 D of the Aaron Smith/Casey Hampton era). But with the 1 gap scheme the lineman is only required to blow up and penetrate a single gap, either making the tackle or getting into the backfield and forcing the RB to either find a new gap or bouncing the play out side where other players have responsibility. THAT is why Cam Heyward looked so destructive this season, because he was allowed to make more plays in the backfield. 1 gapping is a quicker way of getting players on the field and using their play making ability and athleticism where as the 2 gap requires a great deal of football knowledge and strength along with a traditional 0-tech NT. The reason I’ve been totally on board of the Hageman bandwagon is because he would bring a similar skill set to Cam Heyward and would be allowed to collapse the pocket and can be used right away as a rotational player, but also has the versatility, strength, and length to play the 2 gap when he gains more experience. His versatility had him playing shade 1 tech, 3 tech, and some 5 tech in college, but he should have no problem transitioning into the Steeler’s defense, especially if they keep using multiple fronts. With the Steelers continuing to use the 4 man front with 2 down linemen and 2 OLBs acting as stand up DEs, then we DO need linemen with pass rushing ability. As for Ziggy Hood, I’d like to keep him for 3 years on a cheap deal that can be cut short just to be a stop gap. I’m not a hater of Hood, he doesn’t hurt this team but he’s not exactly making an impact either, Hageman would change that and would help the Steelers dominate the trenches better and improve the pass rush. (Minus links just in case they don’t get approved, I can’t see why they would not)…

  • Asmitty56

    I would think the 1 gap scheme and pass rushing DEs would be here to stay. The Steelers are one of the very few that continued to use the 2 gap in the past few seasons, mainly because they had the players to run it. The Steelers stuck with keeping their veterans because they knew they would not be able to run the same defense in the same capacity with new players. Hood, McLendon, and Heyward can not be asked to run the 2 gap, and none of the players in the draft will be able to run it right away either. The Steelers defense is going to look a lot more like the Texans front 5 than the Steelers of Smith, Hampton, Keisel, Harrison, and Woodley of the past.

  • Asmitty56

    If Mack or Barr falls to the Steelers then great, but Barr is just as much of a boom or bust prospect as Hageman, but both will be slotted in the top 10 in draft boards after the combine that is for sure. Hageman is this season’s Ziggy Ansah and Dontari Poe. I’d also love to have Sammy Watkins. But I’m not a fan of Mike Evans, he seems closer to Riley Cooper than Plaxico Burres to me, and I don’t think he will ever be the #1 WR as long as Brown is here, I feel the same about Marqise Lee as well. And then in 4 years they will either garner a lot of money or leave I’d rather use the pick on a long lasting player than at a position that the Steelers have proven they can turn low round picks into starters. I’d rather wait until the 2nd round for guys like Jordan Matthews, Jarvis Landry, and Davante Adams or in the 3rd round Jared Abbrederis, Mike Davis, Donte Moncrief, and Brandon Coleman. I have a feeling if we do take a “receiver” It will end up being TE Eric Ebron more than anyone.

  • Asmitty56

    McLendon and Heyward are the only starters under contract, with Heyward’s contract up in the near future. Woods will almost assured back as he will not likely gain much interest and he has the much needed position flexibility. As for Hood he could back because he didn’t gain much interest, but I doubt the Steelers will get in a bidding war over him and you better believe Ken Whisenhunt will have his sights locked for any Steeler freeagents. As for Arnfelt and Williams, they showed nothing to be counted on as of yet. They are likely still a season away from having any sort of impact on the team, especially Williams with him being injured.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I see your point. I do, but like I said its all numbers game right now. Lions only made to playoff once in calvin johnson.. . Stafford always have higher interceptions rate… Lions’ remaining receiving corp always have stunk it up, its not a secret that calvin johnson plays role in those factors. I’m not blaming him now but he’s a strictly flanker which means… he’s always downfield. You rarely see him behind 10 yards front of the ball that’s snapped. He’s always asked to use his athleticism which mean- teams plan for him easier, its easier to scheme around him. Its no wonder he disappeared in 3 quarters against the Steelers. He’s a complete threat to take it to house I’ll give you that but if we were to talk about NFL’s currently most dangerous weapon? I’d have to say Antonio Brown.

    Why? He’s smaller! But he’s producing everywhere, on offense and special team. Its the same reason Patrick Peterson were ranked higher, Megatron argument is much like Champ Bailey who’s easily best CB of the decade in 2000’s but that’s the point; he give you ONE dimensional of threat. I’m saying Megatron is NFL’s best flanker right now but as for a complete WR who can reverts his role to split-out, it goes to Fitzgerald because he can do everything else. Today GMs get too excited over athleticism because they dream of the potential damages but they don’t think about the overall strength, how to destroy your defense.

    Seem like we both will agree to disagree but hopefully you see why I’m pointing out this- Sammy Watkins is the kind who can be either flanker or split-out WR. Also return kicks, more lethal. Makes sense?

  • Asmitty56

    Not seeing the Fitz comparison other than maybe YAC ability. Fitz had unbelievable ball skills, and jump ball ability. If the ball was in the air within his wingspan it was his.

  • Asmitty56

    He has the body Torrey Smith has, except Watkins will be a better route runner than Smith was as a rookie, Watkins might be a more explosive athlete as well. I like the Bryant/Brown comparison, obviously Watkins body is not like either one, but is a similar athlete. He seems like he could be a bigger bodied Brown but possibly a better athlete.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree but do you see us running one-gap or Gus Bradley’s 4-3 with Lebeau? I don’t. That’s ONE reason I’m very hesitated about Hageman, like JJ Watt if playing for the Steelers, they won’t produce as much they should.

  • Asmitty56

    Not a fan of HaHa, You have to be cautious of Alabama DBs. He might be a good late round pick or early 2nd but I’d avoid him at 15. I like Dennard, but then again he might not be a high impact player on the defense. I expect a like of shuffling up for the top CBs, I’d suspect the top CB taken could be Gilbert just as much as it could be Dennard. Not going to get into trades.

  • Asmitty56

    There are a lot of DBs and WRs in the 2nd and 3rd round to choose from. I kind of wish we had our original early 3rd round pick. But at lest we will likely get a 3rd round comp pick.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    If talking about a traditional BUCK lb, i’d say Brandon Spikes is the best right now. Farrior was a decent but produced with right system and players. There’s a really good BUCK lb in this draft that I like: Andrew Jackson, West Kentucky. We can either start using MIKE LB like 49ers does with Patrick Willis or leave BUCK LB alone, but with the inability to develop a run-stuffing nose (McLendon is a penetrating NT) it makes BUCK position a big need. I also like Ryan Carrethers of Arkansas State for nose tackle. If we are able to land those two I can see us continues using 2-gaps defense or not… it come down to our defensive scheme.

  • Asmitty56

    The only problem is Thomas and Jean-Baptiste would give them two players that are not exactly elite cover safeties. I’d kill for a Earl Thomas like FS with that ability to cover ground and make plays. It would be nice to have that kind of SS/LB hybrid player like Chancellor as well, but it would be extremely difficult to find one that would be anything more than a rotational player instead of a starter like Kam. We will have to see how Shamarko improves, the good things about him is he can cover ground quickly without a problem and can make plenty of tackles.

  • Asmitty56

    That’s the nature of the WR position, not many are retained for long because either A) Teams do not want to put a lot of money in a WR2. B) teams will over pay to take those players away. Sanders did not do enough to earn a good chunk of money just to play as the #2 to Brown, some team will pay more to have him compete for a #1 job.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    yes you are right, Barr as much of “boom and bust” as Hageman does but that’s not the point. Its whether they can produce in Lebeau’s scheme. Lebeau has shown inability to adapt to our players’ strength. Barr, worst scenario will be like Worilds. After Jarvis Jones’ pick I think they’d be more careful with how they draft a player for Lebeau’s defense.

  • Asmitty56

    I really like Seferian-Jenkins, he seems like a bigger and stronger Heath Miller 2.0. I hope the Steelers value him better than the draft sights have been lately. Most have him as a late 1st or early 2nd mostly because his athleticism wont wow you like Ebron or Amaro, and he was asked to block a lot in his last season and other targets started getting more attention. ASJ would be a fine blocker right away, and his size and basketball background would help a lot as a receiver. Only problem is he won’t out run top safeties, but he can out position them. I hope he blows at the combine.

  • Callentown

    Ha, nice ASH :)

  • Callentown

    Maybe it’s just the dreads .. ;)

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Ah I was looking in the production; body work and production, yeah his lowest ceiling is Torrey but obviously that’s the worst scenario. I do not see way Watkins doesn’t produce in NFL unless got drafted to the Titans or Lions. Those two teams are the blackhole for WRs. True story.

  • Asmitty56

    Maybe not Gus Bradley’s 4-3, although I think that is a fantastic defense. Like I said it would be more of the Texans defense with 3 defensive linemen and a OLB making a 4 man front, kind of like what the Cowboys. But the Steelers also ran a lot of 2 down linemen and 2 stand up DEs. The point is the Steelers are using different fronts more often and they need the versatile linemen to continue that.

  • Asmitty56

    Well it seems like he is starting to conform more to his player’s strengths. For example allowing Heyward and Hood to play more one gap and be play makers. I’m sure Jarvis will be fine once he bulks up.

  • Asmitty56

    I’d argue that Josh Gordon is the league’s most dangerous receiver, too bad he has a terrible QB, or I should say good for us. I wouldn’t be disappointed with getting Watkins what so ever.

  • Asmitty56

    Spikes is hardly a factor in coverage, I’m not sure a player like him would be going in the right direction. He’d have to be rotated out in passing situations and with teams running more no huddle he is stuck on the field. I’d rather have a ILB that has decent size and the ability to be reliable in coverage. As long as the player is a sure tackler they should do fine against the run. Timmons does a solid job against blockers, he’s not the best at it but he can handle the job. We need players like that who can be versatile.

  • Asmitty56

    Keith Butler said so him self he wanted to get more athletic at the ILB positions, that’s why they drafted Spence. And the run defense was not as bad as you’re making it out to be, take away 4 long runs or so and the average brings the defense towards the top of the league, those long runs were mostly duo to Williams and/or Polamalu. And Carrethers does seem like a workout warrior but the question is does that translate on to the field. The would likely why he’s slotted as a 5th round pick. No rookie is going to come in and be able to 2-gap, it takes years to learn. That’s why the Steelers were hesitant to let go of veteran players.

  • Asmitty56

    Yeah like I said before, Watkins seems like the type of player that makes plays with his legs. Running good routes and using that explosiveness in his breaks, first step, and run away speed in getting YAC. Only problem he is not necessarily the type of player that will win contested catches or go for the jump ball. I’m starting to like that bigger bodied Antonio Brown comparison.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    A player like Spikes, Kirkland is very vital to passing downs. Especially when they are asked to blitz and those kind of BUCK will absorbs so other LBs will be freed to attack.

  • Asmitty56

    Kirkland was relevant back when running the ball was more prevalent. Like I said. I’d rather grab a 240-245 pound ILB that can cover ground in a hurry and make solid tackles against the run. If teams used more FBs then it may be more of a factor.

  • Callentown

    I dunno Asmit. Watkins sure took the ball at it’s highest point, and away from good coverage in that Orange Bowl game a couple of times..

    Either way, we’re not getting him, so it’s a moot point.

  • Callentown

    You know what it is for me as a fan? I know I will never spend the time to fully understand the necessary dynamics to know who would be the best fit and who’s ceiling is highest while sitting here at home watching on tv.

    So, I trust the organization to select the best player. That said, I would like a CB if that works in the 15th spot.