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Eric Ebron A Tight End 'Like No One Else'


North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron is not short on confidence. He emphaticially believes that he can make a splash in the NFL.

Many consider the prospect to be the top tight end in a deep draft class, and Ebron talked up the game-changing element he brings to the field.

"I play the tight end role like no one else," Ebron said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Ebron was then asked if he can make an immediate impact at the next level.

"Who knows? Do I think so? In my mind, I can. Yes," he responded. "I can do anything in my mind."

Ebron has been linked to the Ravens in a number of mock drafts as a target with the No. 17 overall pick, and he said he is scheduled to meet with Baltimore officials at the combine this weekend.

Some draft experts expect Ebron to be as high as a top-10 pick, and he hesitated from giving any specifics about where he would like to get drafted.

"It doesn't matter. If you need me, if you need a tight end, I'm here," he said. "The possibility of playing for any team is a great one. If I end up in Baltimore, then I end up in Baltimore."

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound target is a blend of size and speed that wreaked havoc on ACC defenses last season, catching 62 passes for 973 yards and three touchdowns.

He decided to leave school after his junior season after it was clear he would likely be a first-round pick.

"He's an absolute stud," former North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner said. "He's going to shock a lot of people with just how athletic he is. He's one of the best players and best athletes I've played with."

Ebron is known for his speed, and he thrived beating teams on deep routes over the middle. He would not give an exact goal for the time he hopes to hit in the 40-yard dash, but he did say he expects to run a time under 4.5 seconds.

Only three tight ends have run under 4.5 in the last eight years.

He even joked about being faster than Cincinnati Bengals speedy running back Giovani Bernard, a teammate of his at North Carolina, who ran the 40 in 4.53 seconds at last year's combine.

"I'm going to run a faster 40 than he did. I'm just going to put it like that," Ebron said. "I play fast. I'm a little bit faster than most."

Ebron's speed forced college defenses to defend him differently than most tight ends, and he did not face much press coverage at the line of scrimmage. The lack of press coverage he faced led to some questions at the combine, and he had a simple reason for why defenses chose not to do it.

"I think why teams don't press me is because they can't.  I will not be pressed at the line of scrimmage," he said. "They would be best to play a couple of yards back."

Ebron compared his game to San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who is one of the elite physical specimens in the NFL. Davis has the best 40 times on record for a tight end, running 4.38 seconds in 2006.

"There are similarities – the speed, he's powerful – he's very strong at the line of scrimmage," Ebron said. "I love everything about him."

One of the big questions about Ebron is his ability as a blocker because he was primarily used as a pass catcher at North Carolina. Improving as a blocker has been a focus of his as he prepared for the combine and pre-draft workouts.

"Every team wants a complete tight end, an all-purpose tight end, not just one that can run down the seam and catch passes," Ebron said. "They want one that can block too. I tell them that I've been working hard at it, which I have, and I'm not bad at it, which everyone thinks."

Ebron headlines a draft class that is loaded with talent, and he will face competition from Texas Tech's Jace Amaro and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins as the top tight end in the draft. Tight ends begin their on-field combine workouts Saturday, and it will be a chance for Ebron to show the NFL scouts that he is exactly the kind of player he's made out to be.

"Every tight end is special, and we're all here to compete with one another. This is probably one of the best tight end classes probably ever," Ebron said.

"Should the draft play out that way [with me as the first tight end taken]? In my mind, yeah it should. But I never know."

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