With the 19th pick of the FanSided NFL Mock Draft, the New York Jets selected Eric Ebron, tight end from the University of North Carolina. To view more on this pick and the rest of the mock draft be sure to click on the link in the first sentence.
With Eric Ebron, the Jets should be able to fill the void at tight end that has been there since Dustin Keller signed with the Miami Dolphins. Neither Jeff Cumberland or Kellen Winslow proved this season that they are a viable option for the starting tight end position, and with both of their contracts up the Jets should look to find a better tight end this offseason. However, with so many position needs for the New York Jets, why should they go tight end over a wide receiver or safety?
It seems that the New York Jets will try to stick with QB Geno Smith for at least next season, as fans witnessed this season the quarterback has to be surrounded with weapons in order to succeed. Also, the Jets offense was clearly abysmal this past season and definitely needs some improvements. With Eric Ebron, the Jets would have a nice redzone target who is a phenomenal route runner. Also, Ebron has an incredible ability to jump up and snag the football from mid-air, often with only one hand. The former Tarheel has also had to play with horrific quarterback play, and his ability to bail the quarterback out some times on bad throws is exactly what Geno Smith needs. If you haven’t already, I highly advise watching Eric Ebron’s highlight reel as some of the plays he makes are just phenomenal.
However, Eric Ebron does have some critiques that might worry NFL teams looking to draft him. Although Ebron is a athletic and capable enough to block in both the run and pass game, he is inconsistent at best and has yet to face an opponent even close to the skill level of Mario Williams or Cameron Wake. Also Ebron is just 6’4″ and 245 pounds, which is a bit on the smaller side when compared to the rest of the NFL. However, his insane athletic ability and the fact that he scarcely drops anything definitely makes it worth drafting him despite his size.
One of the most controversial topics about this pick is that many believe the Jets should be drafting a wide receiver with this pick, whether it be Marquise Lee, Mike Evans, or another top prospect that falls to them. Despite how urgent it may seem that the Jets must draft a wide receiver, in reality it is not their biggest concern. Perhaps a better medical staff would help prove this point, as Jeremy Kerley, Santonio Holmes, and Stephen Hill all combined to miss 13 games this year due to injury. Not only did this take some of the talent off the field, but it didn’t allow Geno Smith to gain chemistry with any of the receivers. However, another encouraging sign for the Jets’ wide receiver position is that when both Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes were healthy, the Jets went 5-2.
Although Ebron may seem like the best option for the New York Jets as of now, that is subject to change. Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro also had a great year, and deciding between the two is almost impossible. Amaro is as good as Ebron if not better in almost every possible comparison, except for the ones that go beyond the film. Despite being slightly bigger, slightly quicker, and probably slightly better football player, Jace Amaro has never played in an NFL style offense and rarely has lined up in a 3-point stance. Also, Jace Amaro has had some legal issues after being arrested once for identity theft and using the credit card to buy over $100 worth of alcohol. With the New York media especially, the Jets want to avoid any kind of drama or baggage that can come with a player. Another thing is that Ebron’s success happened at a poor football school in UNC, and we have yet to see how talented he can be with even a decent quarterback and coaching staff.
Whether or not the Jets do choose Eric Ebron in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Jets must draft a game-changer for a position they need in order to reach their full potential.