One of the primary knacks against Ebron is one that many of these new-era tight ends share: Because they’re more like overgrown wide receivers, they’re not the best in-line blockers. There are some concerns of his blocking effort when compared to his pass-catching effort.
Overemphasizing Skill-Position Players?
Let’s revisit 2008. Since then, first-round draft picks used on skill-position players include Chris Johnson (2008), Kenny Britt (2009) and Kendall Wright (2012). Justin Hunter was drafted with the No. 34 pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, not to mention the team sacrificed their 2014 third-rounder.
Then there are offensive juggernauts who never spent first-round talent on offensive skill-position players. The Green Bay Packers put together their wide receivers, running backs and tight ends with second-rounders or later.
Adding Ebron would give this team another weapon. Is it necessary? A franchise quarterback should have more than enough weapons to make this an above-average offense.
Or maybe the other way of looking at it is if management wants to spend such high picks on skill-position players, then they got to find players who are here for more than 5-6 average-at-best seasons.
Not an Immediate Need
Don’t expect a 21-year-old tight end to become an immediate All Pro contributor. Ebron would almost certainly begin his career as the No. 2 tight end behind Walker. He’ll likely start as a role-player much like Hunter did last season.
Hunter made a difference; so can Ebron. Just don’t expect him to make 60-plus catches or anything like that. Although his collegiate career doesn’t support it, maybe Ebron can at least develop into a goal-line threat during his rookie season.
Lack of Positional Importance?
Consider the key tight ends on recent Super Bowl champions: Zach Miller (2013 Seattle Seahawks), Dennis Pitta (2012 Baltimore Ravens), Jake Ballard (2011 New York Giants), Andrew Quarless (2010 Green Bay Packers…Jermichael Finley was hurt most of season). Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas (2009 New Orleans Saints)…
Super Bowl champions rarely have extravagant pass-catching tight ends. Shockey was in the twilight of his career. He had 48 receptions.
Here’s the counterargument: runner-up teams, many of whom wouldn’t have made it that far without their pass-catching tight ends: Julius Thomas (2013 Denver Broncos), Vernon Davis and Walker (2012 San Francisco 49ers), Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez (2011 New England Patriots)…
How about a counterargument to the counterargument: Only two of the aforementioned tight ends were first-rounders (Shockey, Davis). Most of today’s elite hybrid tight ends are found after Round 1.
An All Pro tight end won’t guarantee a championship. It does help though.