Eric Ebron, Pick 12, New York Giants. #KRM
Always pleased when RodofDisaster gives us a post. If you like your draft pick posts thick with analysis and light on Japanese manga references, this post is for you.
New York Giants
2013 Record: 7-9
Entering the 2013 campaign, the New York Giants had to have felt optimistic about their chances for another playoff run. Those dreams quickly faded as they began the campaign 0-6 and saw a season hampered by injuries and lack of depth. The defense ranked 18th in points allowed but it was their offense that failed them posting a bottom five performance in points scored, yards and rushing yards.
What ensued was a flurry of activity that literally required a scorecard, a feed aggregator and a scotch to figure out. While the Giants had re-signed some secondary figures such as K Josh Brown and backup RB Peyton Hillis, they lost some significant free agents. OL Kevin Boothe (Raiders), WR Hakeem Nicks (Colts), DE Justin Tuck (Raiders), LB Keith Rivers (Bills), DT Linval Joseph (Vikings), S Ryan Mundy (Bears), TE Brandon Myers (Bucs) all played in all 16 games last season. Coupled with some aging or underachieving performers remaining on the roster, this promised to have Giants fans crying in their beers for 2014.
The Giants appeared to be entering into the abyss of “rebuilding.” To his credit, general manager Jerry Reese got right down to work figuring that the draft would not be enough to address all of the holes on this team. He quickly signed G Geoff Schwartz (Chiefs) and C JD Walton (Redskins). The linebacker corps was bolstered by the re-signing of Jon Beason and the acquisition of Jameel McClain (Ravens). Big splashes continued with the signing of defensive backs Walter Thurmond (Seahawks), Quintin Demps (Chiefs) and top CB target, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Broncos). RB Rashad Jennings (Raiders) added a potential starter at the running back position and the team speed was augmented by the return of former Giant WR Mario Manningham and KR Trindon Holliday. Late additons OL John Jerry (Dolphins), DT Mike Patterson and CB Zack Bowman (Bears) all figure to contribute to the 2014 Giants where nearly every position will likely see open competition.
Analysis of the roster now shows more capable players but many questions persist:
1) The defensive line is aging with a loss of significant pass rush. Matthias Kiwanuka was not good enough to keep a starting defensive end position before and 2013 third round pick Damontre Moore should challenge to play opposite of Jason Pierre-Paul. The defensive tackle position still appears to be one of need as Mike Patterson is an aging veteran. There is little depth behind him and Cullen Jenkins.
2) The wide receiver position is likely to see Rueben Randle take over the Hakeem Nicks role and he needs to draw the double coverage to open the field for the other receivers. This could allow Victor Cruz space to operate opposite him. Cruz is at his best in the slot but he could play the Z-receiver depending on whether Jerrel Jernigan or Mario Manningham joins the lineup in 3-wide receiver sets. Only Cruz is proven in his role and the focal point of the new offense may not match what we saw in previous years under Kevin Gilbride.
3) Linebacker is a position screaming for players to claim the jobs. Free agency may have cleared this up somewhat as Beason figures to take the MLB duties with McClain on the strong side. Spencer Paysinger or Jacquian Williams figures to man the weak side.
Going into the draft, the Giants hold the #12 overall pick. With that pick, the choice is somewhat easier than it would have been a month ago but this is where scheme and player availability will likely come into play. The twelfth pick may be too high for some of the players on their radar. The initial choices come down to these:
- A defensive lineman– After Clowney, there is a bit of a drop off. This pick is too high for Ealy and DE may not be as pressing. The best DL value at 12 is likely a defensive tackle and it’s EXTREMELY hard to pass up the dynamic, undersized, overachieving Aaron Donald from Pitt. Louis Nix III of Notre Dame is a much bigger player who could command a double team on every play. He could also be an option at #12 but isn’t as flashy.
- Linebacker– CJ Mosley is a tremendous talent with an injury history. Recent Alabama draftees might hurt his stock but he is a safe pick in terms of ability. More of an ILB, the urgency to make this player the newest Giant is less with the return of Beason.
- Left tackle– Just sayin’. With Lewan and Matthews gone this is unlikely as the options are limited. Look for Morgan Moses as an option in round 2.
- Wide Receiver– Mike Evans carries a first round grade but I will make some enemies in Aggieland when I point out he’s a tremendously unpolished route runner and is going to struggle getting separation against NFL defenders. With a deep wide receiver class, the Giants pass. Hook ‘em.
With the twelfth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select:
TE, Eric Ebron, North Carolina.
Despite the four options listed above being plausible, the one area of the Giants’ roster that is direly bereft of a productive option is the tight end position. For all we know, Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell may be fine citizens but they aren’t making anyone forget the great tight ends in Giants’ history. Since the departure of Jeremy Shockey there has been no dynamic option here. Kevin Boss was above average and Martellus Bennett was fairly productive before Jerry Reese allowed him to walk after one season. While Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas would be my personal choice due to his superior blocking, new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo came from Green Bay where he made the most of Jermichael Finley who is a similar sized and skilled player to Ebron. This player could open up the passing offense remarkably as he creates mismatch in the rapidly changing NFC East.
Rodofdisaster’s Scouting Report – Eric Ebron
Strengths: Acceleration, Speed, Change of direction, Catch radius, Natural Catcher
Weaknesses: In-line blocking, Use of size, Redirection off route. Concentration.
6’4”, 250 lbs
40-yd dash: 4.6 Broad Jump 120” Vertical 32”
Arm length: 33 ¼”
Summation: Ebron is a shorter, undersized tight end in more a receiving tight end mold (e.g., Aaron Hernandez or Vernon Davis). He does seem to have some room to add bulk. He displays smooth, nearly effortless acceleration and excellent play speed to all levels of the defense that seems to match his 40-time. His burst off the line into his routes is excellent and he closes the cushion quickly. He explodes out of his cuts and threatens the seam with ease. He runs with great balance and agility. He is naturally flexible and explosive in the lower body. Shows great body control and locates the ball well. He adjusts fairly well to the poorly thrown pass and will routinely make a difficult catch look easy. He catches the ball away from his body but does experience the occasional concentration-drop. He is tough in traffic and competes for the ball. He is creative and elusive after the catch. He is a threat in the open field. He has played both on-line and off-line Y as well as in the slot as a Y-flex.
Ebron is a willing but unpolished run blocker. Sits a little high in his stance. Quick first step with good reach; Shows good initial contact and hip roll. Not a significantly heavy puncher. Will struggle against NFL defensive ends without more development. Hand placement is inconsistent. Tends to stop feet at times while engaged. Blocking should improve with coaching.
My Thoughts On It
The one reason I think he makes this pick is that he has a history of curious high-upside risky picks like Jason Pierre-Paul and David Wilson as well as some curious risky picks with questionable upside (e.g., Clint Sintim and Rameses Barden). I like the pick but I think a defensive tackle here and a tight end in round two (Notre Dame’s Niklas, for example) would be the safer approach. That said, Niklas may not be available in mid round two and Ebron is a player I’d pick over Amaro, Seferian-Jenkins or Fiederowicz. Aaron Donald would be possibly more exciting here but I think Ebron may be the splashier pick and Reese may see him as a guy who’ll help the team more and build excitement. Eli approves.
Outstanding, thank you Rod. Speaking of Grantland,