On the Tennessee Titans drafting Eric Ebron at 11

I haven’t written in a while which is an issue I intend to rectify very soon. However, I did want to post some quick thoughts on the mock drafts that have the Tennessee Titans taking a tight end, specifically Eric Ebron, at the number 11 spot. Let me offer this disclaimer before I weigh in: Ebron is a good player.

However, in terms of the Titans I don’t think it’s a wise draft pick and I don’t like the value where they are picking. I understand the 2 TE set argument and while that is certainly attractive I still think there is better value available and that the Titans can essentially get that later on in the draft and/or pooling the undrafted free agent market. They very much liked former Western Kentucky tight end Jack Doyle who was an undrafted free agent but couldn’t find room on their roster and he was snagged by the Colts and remains on their roster.

While Ebron is a nice player he is very much a one trick pony at tight end. Don’t get me wrong it’s a nice trick. It’s ain’t tricking if ya got it.

Ebron’s strong suit is most assuredly not blocking and that’s fine. He can work on that and learn but you are still limited in what you do with him until he develops in that area. Will he be the next Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis? He wants to be and I hope he realizes that dream.

Taking Ebron at 11 carries other inherent risks. As a guy who likely will line up a lot in the slot, you are looking at what the Saints face right now with Graham. A player you drafted at 11 to be a tight end who will want to be paid as a wide receiver. The Titans went down that road with Jared Cook and I still thank the football gods they didn’t pay him like a wide receiver.

Which leads me to my larger point. The Titans don’t have a glaring hole at tight end. Far from it as former San Francisco Forty Niner Delanie Walker proved to be an excellent free agency pickup. Why not draft a wide receiver if you want to add explosive offensive production? This draft certainly doesn’t lack for it and you get a player you can plug in opposite Justin Hunter and who will play more than Ebron projects to play at somewhere between to one third to one half of the snaps.

Last year, the Bengals drafted tight end Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame #21 overall. He played 58.7% of the offensive snaps and finished with 39 receptions, 445 yards, and 2 touchdowns. The Houston Texans drafted wide receiver Deandre Hopkins out of Clemson at #27 overall. He played 88.8% of the offensive snaps and finished with 52 receptions, 802 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Who had the bigger impact? Hopkins no doubt.

Unless they trade out of the 11 spot, the Titans are in a position where they need to get the most value out of their first and second round picks having traded away their 3rd round pick to move up and draft Justin Hunter last year. I think they can get better value and production out of the pick.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the Titans draft goes down tonight.

 

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