The Bills are Drafting Eric Ebron

The draft is finally upon us and the only sure thing is the Buffalo Bills are going to select a player or two at some point. Who, what and when are total mysteries for everyone involved, including the Bills. That said, after the Bills draft luncheon last week I am overwhelmingly convinced that they will be drafting North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron with their first round pick.

 (Photo by Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
In my opinion, all signs lead to the Bills drafting Eric Ebron. (Photo by Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

My reasoning is based on the ideas that the Bills will not trade up (too steep of a price) and that the players they truly want (Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Jake Matthews) will be off the board. If the noted dominoes all fall, that leaves Ebron as the most logical and thus likely selection.

Throughout the offseason Bills GM Doug Whaley has professed routinely how he wants to give second year quarterback EJ Manuel as many weapons as possible to succeed. He also stated that he was looking for a receiver that possessed height and an ability to go get jump balls, and Ebron just so happens to be that type of receiver.

Whaley has also done a lot of double talk the last few weeks. He’s made remarks on how the tight end position has evolved. It may seem like innuendo, or Whaley trying to lead everyone astray, but it was a year ago EJ Manuel thought the Bills were going to select him and that turned out to be true. It appears history may repeat itself as Ebron has stated he thinks the Bills will draft him.

From a physical evaluation, Ebron is a prime example of the blurred lines of what a tight end should be in today’s NFL. History mandates a tight end to be proficient in blocking first and catching second. In today’s NFL, a tight end rarely blocks and is looked at as a big athletic receiver. Think of how the Saints, Patriots, 49ers, and Chargers operate their offense around tight ends who are more receiver than tight end.

For the Bills, Ebron would represent a receiver that stands 6’4″ and has arms that measure 33 inches in length. That height and wingspan will create a larger catching radius for Manuel to target in his passes. Ebron is also nearly as fast as most receivers. He ran a 4.6 second 40-yard dash which holds up well compared to top ten prospect Mike Evans, who ran a 4.53. These measurements lead me to believe that the Bills don’t need to draft a tall, athletic and rangy wide out.

What also helps this theory is that Doug Marrone was an assistant coach under Saints head coach Sean Payton. Marrone likely knows most of the same offensive concepts that Payton currently uses for Jimmy Graham. That translation of offensive philosophies, and the fact that Marrone has also preached originality on offense, likely means a multipurpose weapon like Ebron can and will be utilized properly. If given a competent tight end, Marrone should know how to maximize their talents on the field.

Beyond that, it is clear that Manuel has no issues throwing to a tight end. With the outside weapons now present, especially after the Mike Williams trade, the selection of Ebron allows the Bills to make the next step in bringing their offense into the NFL’s 21st century.

About Jason DeHart

Jason is a UB alum with over six years of media experience including his time as the student voice for the UB Bulls football & basketball teams. He currently resides in Delray Beach with his wife and currently works for CBSSports.com as an online video producer. #billsmafia4life

7 Replies to “The Bills are Drafting Eric Ebron”

  1. Pingback: The Bills are Drafting Eric Ebron – My Buffalo Sports

  2. Think there is no way they don’t draft a OL – EJ has Woods, SJ, MW, MG as targets – what he really needs is CJ ripping off 15 yarders every 5th/6th time he’s handed the ball. Hence RT is so obvious – and actually move back to 19 or so and take top LG might happen as well. CJ is the weapon that needs to be unleashed for W’s more so than EJ.

  3. They would be foolish to draft a player who would ultimately line up at right tackle with the 9th pick. I understand your train of thought as far as solidifying the right side of the line, but not at 9, this is a very tackle deep draft class and the position can be addressed in the mid rounds.

    • I agree with that assessment. I think we should look for a trade down. The 49ers are my prediction. They need secondary help and a situation that begs for them to trade away picks. Justin Gilbert would be unreal in the same secondary as Eric Reid.

  4. I have to disagree with this a lot. Not to say that these are not valid arguments but the “EJ Manuel predicting who would draft him” argument seems a little bit of a stretch. Also, how long has Jimmy Graham been with the Saints? Was he even on the team when Marrone was coach there (which is 5? years ago)? Not only that, but Ebron is not touted as a blocker. While Jason argues that tightends in this NFL are not good blockers, we should note that Gronk, when healthy was not only the league’s best pass catching tight end but also its best blocker. Vernon Davis is also used plenty as a blocker in a run heavy offense as well. Many people argue that EJ needs more weapons. While this could be true, we have Mike Williams, Steve Johnson, Marquise Goodwin, etc. This is a potent receiving corps that, while lacking an elite play maker, is one that has players that can consistently beat single coverage. What I see the Bills doing is taking Niklas or Seferian-Jenkins, a player who, like Kiko Alonso last year, was not linked to the Bills much. Both are athletic, massive players with potential as blockers. Ebron would be a great add and while the Bills can afford to draft him, I think there is a better way to improve the Bills offense.
    P.S. We forget about Chris Gragg as well. At 6’2″ and 250 pounds with 4.5 40 yard dash speed, he likely would have been a day 2 pick last year were it not for injuries. Yes he is unproven but the Steelers game was one in which he was able to display his potential.
    P.P.S. Can you tell I love the Bills? If I’m wrong I’ll gladly accept any criticism at my logic directed at me. These are, after all, opinions as of now.

    • Completely agree with your input Tommy. I also feel that Evans at 9 (that many are wishing for) would be a wasted pick as well and here is my reasoning…. Yes hes big and provides a large catch radius, I understand that, however the route tree they ran at A&M was extremely vanilla and its an unproven part of his arsenal. There seems to be this consensus that you need a big receiver in this league to be successful, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t recall Seattle having the big, freakish receiver when they won it all, or Pittsburgh when they beat Arizona for the title, or the Pats when they had their SB runs. Nope, what those teams had in common was the ability to get to the QB, and being in a division with Tom Brady, that should be top priority. Oh yeah and for all saying that Evans is the missing piece, ask yourself (or any Lions fan), just how many playoff wins he’s brought them…0. Not saying Johnson isn’t a special talent, but there are way bigger holes to fill on this team than adding a big receiver to an already better than average corp. Just my opinion…LETS GO BUFFALO!!!

  5. ^And oh yeah…my personal preference IF we were to trade up is Mack. If we stay at 9 I’d love to see Mosely (yes I know we signed Rivers but talk to me in 5 years to see who has the better NFL career and I bet its a landslide for Mosely). If we trade back (which I billieve ideal), we could fill some key holes in a talent rich draft. Only thing that scares me about not landing a pass rusher is this, if Mario were to blow his knee out, is there any Bills fan that could honestly say they would be able to look at are DE depth and say they would feel comfortable with Hughes, Wynn, and whoever else makes it outta camp as our DE rotation?…scary thought but one I’m sure Whaley is well aware of.