Eric Ebron, tight end, North Carolina.
6-4/250, ran the 40 in 4.56 seconds.
College career: Played in 10 games without a start as a true freshman in 2011 and had 10 catches for 207 yards and a TD. His sophomore and junior seasons were outstanding – 40 catches for 625 yards and 4 TDs in 2012 and 62 catches for 973 yards and 3 TDs in 2013.
His three-season average was 16.1 yards per catch, with a long reception of 79 yards, set in 2013. Ebron’s 973 receiving yards in 2013 are an ACC record for tight ends, and his career total of 1,805 receiving yards are the most by a tight end in ACC history, topping the previous mark of 1,703 set by Heath Miller.
Ebron quote, at the NFL Combine earlier this year: “I think why teams don’t press me is because they can’t. I will not be pressed at the line of scrimmage. I just do different things than other tight ends do.”
Scout’s quote, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: On comparisons between the 49ers’ Vernon Davis and Ebron: “Vernon is more sudden and compact. Twitchy. Eric's fluid. Where Eric makes his mark is being deceptive, running in gears and transitioning well in and out of breaks. I think he has special hands. You see him making one-handed palm of the ball in traffic. He has a chance to be an exceptional player, especially the way the game is played now."
Mike O’Hara’s take: “I wasn’t expecting a tight end in the first round. That does not diminish Ebron’s ability, but it puts more pressure on him to produce as a receiving threat. The Lions needed another threat to go with
Tim Twentyman’s take: “Defense certainly would have made sense with the pick, and OLB Anthony Barr could have been the pick if he was still on the board, but the Lions felt they really needed a player like Ebron who could stretch the field and play a similar role in Joe Lombardi’s offense that Jimmy Graham filled. The Lions needed to add another pass catcher and they got a versatile one in Ebron. He fills the slot role and can play in-line. He’s not just another tight end, he’s got some unique physical skills, and the Lions think he’ll make an immediate impact.”