New York Giants: Eric Ebron

New York Giants fans keep asking about tight end. Some are concerned because the team added only Kellen Davis at the position this offseason. Some are convinced the team will take Eric Ebron with the No. 12 pick in the draft. They might. But they also might not. What if they don't like Ebron at 12? What if they like someone else better? What if someone takes him with one of the first 11 picks? Unless you have the No. 1 pick, you can't know who you're going to take. So if the Giants really are basing their tight end plans on the idea of Ebron at 12, they need a Plan B.

So what about Adrien Robinson? The 2012 fourth-round draft pick is yes, still on the roster. He has played in only three games so far in his NFL career and has yet to catch a pass. He would be easily forgotten if GM Jerry Reese hadn't regrettably referred to him as "the JPP of tight ends" in a news conference shortly after that 2012 draft.

That comment has evolved into a term of derision toward Robinson and Reese by Giants fans who are disappointed with Robinson's lack of progress, but the comment is misconstrued in retrospect. Reese wasn't intending to compare Robinson to Jason Pierre-Paul as a talent but rather as a project. The Giants took Pierre-Paul in the first round of the 2010 draft because, though they knew he was raw, they believed he had the talent to be a dominant player at his position. He became that in 2011, so when Reese said what he said about Robinson following the fourth round in 2012, the words had serious weight.

But Robinson was a fourth-round project, which is far different from a first-round project. And regardless of round, projects don't always develop as quickly as Pierre-Paul did, if they ever do. Pierre-Paul exploded onto the scene in his second year. This year coming up will be Robinson's third. Though they haven't seen it translate to anything at all on the field yet, the Giants continue to believe there is talent and potential in Robinson's 6-foot-4, 264-pound frame.

Last year, an offseason foot injury cost Robinson preparation time and lingered into the season, making him a game-day inactive for each of the first 14 games. But the Giants never put him on injured reserve, mainly because they believed he could contribute once ready. They finally made him active for the Week 16 game in Detroit, and in a you-can't-make-this-up moment, he injured his knee on the opening kickoff and missed that game and the next one. Lost season for the young man, who will turn 26 in September.

Can he be the answer at tight end for the 2014 Giants if they don't find one elsewhere? The plain fact is they don't know. They believe him to be a willing and able blocker in the run game, based on what they've seen in practice. They believe his size and speed (assuming all of those foot and knee problems haven't sapped any speed) could make him a mismatch for pass defenses. It's all theory, but the way the Giants' roster is constructed at the moment, it appears Robinson could get another chance in 2014. If he makes good on it, then that fourth-round project pick from two years ago pays off. If he doesn't, the Giants could still be looking for answers at tight end.

Analyzing Kiper 3.0: Giants

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
Now, this is more like it. After assigning the New York Giants an inside linebacker at the No. 12 overall pick in his first two mock drafts of 2014, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has altered his most recent mock Insider and now has the Giants selecting North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron.

Even if the Giants had taken a linebacker in the first round since 1984 (which they have not), the re-signing of Jon Beason makes a pick of Alabama's C.J. Mosley unlikely. Ebron, however, makes a ton of sense.

The free-agent market at tight end is underwhelming, and the Giants have been getting by for too long with one-year stopgap solutions at tight end. That bit them in 2013, when Brandon Myers flopped, and it's time to address the position for the long-term. Ebron is, by all accounts, an instant difference-maker and a freakish athlete who could enable the Giants to do things at the tight end position they haven't been able to do since the heyday of Jeremy Shockey. Eli Manning needs weapons on offense, and Ebron would give him a versatile one.

I could see the Giants going any number of ways in the first round. They could take an offensive lineman, a cornerback, a wide receiver or a defensive lineman, and it would be tough to rip the pick. They are rebuilding a roster in decay, and they have tons of long-term needs. But Ebron would be an exciting and appropriate pick at No. 12.

Ebron draws interest from Jets, Giants

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Jets and New York Giants have the hots for the same player -- Eric Ebron, North Carolina's ultra-athletic tight end.

If they both covet Ebron, the advantage goes to the Giants, who own the 12th overall pick -- six spots ahead of the Jets in the first round.

The Giants are so intrigued by Ebron (6-4, 250 pounds) that general manager Jerry Reese and vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross scouted him during the season and filed reports. The team's top two decision-makers don't do that unless there's a high degree of interest in a player. Ebron scored high grades and will be a consideration with the 12th pick.

The Giants have a glaring need, as do the Jets, who would love to pair Ebron with Jeff Cumberland, a free agent-to-be whom they're trying to re-sign.

Ebron (62 catches, 973 yards, three touchdowns last season) is the consensus top tight end in the draft, ahead of Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, whom the Giants interviewed Thursday night at the scouting combine. Ebron is a new-breed tight end, meaning he can split out as a receiver, creating a mismatch. He once said his speed is "illegal," and he told reporters that he can't be jammed at the line of scrimmage. College opponents didn't try, he said.

"I think why teams don't press me is because they can't," he said. "I will not be pressed at the line of scrimmage. That's a prideful thing of mine. It'd be best to leave the play to cover y'alls' back."

Ebron said he patterns his game after Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers. Why?

"Because [of the] similarities," he said, comparing himself to one of the best. "His speed, he's powerful, he's very strong at the line of scrimmage. Love everything about him."

Ebron isn't shy on confidence. Asked to describe his play, he replied, "Fast. I play fast. I'm a little bit faster than most."

Scouts are eager to see his time in the 40. Ebron is far from a finished product. His blocking needs work, he's had some drops and some question his toughness over the middle. But the tight end position has changed, and the good ones are deployed like wide receivers.

"I just do different things than other tight ends do," Ebron said. "If you watch film you'll probably say the same thing."