It isn't a secret that North Carolina's Eric Ebron admires San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, and Ebron could become the first tight end drafted in the top 10 since Davis was picked sixth overall in 2006.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on a teleconference Thursday that he wouldn't have any issue with a team spending a top-10 pick on Ebron, and that in some respects, Ebron is further along than Davis at the same point in their careers.
Jeremiah said Ebron (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) is "a little smoother, a little cleaner" getting in and out of his breaks than Davis was coming out of Maryland in '06. He also said Ebron -- who has good speed and can get deep -- is "tailor-made" for today's NFL.
"I think he's going to be outstanding" as a pro, Jeremiah said.
Ebron could be enticing to Atlanta (No. 6 overall), Tampa Bay (No. 7), Buffalo (No. 9) and Detroit (No. 10). But Atlanta and Tampa Bay are exceedingly likely to go in other directions. Buffalo certainly could use a tight end who is a deep threat; the same goes for Detroit, which has also shown a lot of interest in wide receiver Sammy Watkins as a potential complement for Calvin Johnson.
One issue with Ebron is his blocking ability -- an issue that Ebron says is overblown. At an impromptu news conference after his pro-day workout, Ebron said scouts who think he is lax in that area have not been "watching the right tape."
Jeremiah agrees, in a way, saying Ebron can "wall guys off" as a blocker. Jeremiah was an NFL scout for eight years, and when he was a scout, he said discussions about tight ends invariably turned to their blocking ability. But after about five minutes, Jeremiah said, the discussions changed course because the trait has lessened in importance for the position.
If Ebron does go in the top 10, he would be just the third tight end this century to go that early; Davis went sixth in 2006 and Kellen Winslow Jr. went sixth in '04. In the past 30 years, just four tight ends have been drafted that high; the other two are Rickey Dudley in 1996 (ninth overall) and Kyle Brady in 1995 (ninth overall).
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.