6th Round Pick Nate Ebner
- Even though I had the TV on the NFL Network, I was only just stopping by it now and then to glance at the draft. I followed more closely on my computer on NFL.com. I don't know much about Chandler Jones (did I even remember his name correctly?) I love the Dont'a Hightower pick. I was as puzzled as anyone else by the Tavon Wilson pick. I was tempted to answer the question "Tavon who?" with "The 4th and 2 of draft picks!" I hope he goes on to prove me and the rest of the doubters wrong and become a great player for the Pats.
You guys have been discussing how little the draftniks know. Well, I know far less than even the draftniks do. I get overly caught up in height, weight, speed, and strength. I can't understand how a receiver like Jeremy Ebert - who runs a 4.3 forty yard dash, stands 5'11, and weighs about 200 lbs AND had great production in college - is a seventh round pick. Meanwhile, while Morris Claiborne -who runs a 4.5 in the forty, stands about 5'11, weighs 186, is dumb as a stump if the Wonderlic intelligence test is is any indication, BUT who also played well in college - is a highly coveted first rounder.
Anyhow, I chuckled at two of our last three picks. After they got drafted. I clicked on NFL.com's hyperlink of their names next to the announcement. Ebner and Ebert's pages were virtually blank. None of the usual analysis and reports. There wasn't even a draft grade for them. Just there name, height, and weight. So, I had to look else where for info. I think Ebert can make this team. Everyone is talking about him as a slot receiver, but I see him as an outside receiver. He's got terrific speed. I'm not sure if you guys ever saw the play by play analysis of Wes Welker's Patriots career and passes thrown over 20 yards in the air to him. That Super Bowl drop. Nothing out of the norm. When he gets his hands on passes that travel more than 20 yards downfield, Welker usually drops them, rarely catches them. (Yet, I don't think there's anyone better at catching short quick passes in traffic with linebackers and safeties zeroing in, and few match his YAC abilities.) Ebert does catch long passes. Some would question his height when so many teams want 6'3, 6'4 WRs on the outside especially as deep threats. (Heck, I wanted the Pats to draft Greg Chidls) Really? How tall was Stanley Morgan, one of the best deep threats ever? Yeah, the same height as Ebert. (Although Morgan ran a blazing 4.2 forty out of college.)
As puzzling as the Wilson pick was, I'm happy with our final four picks. If Alfonzo Dennard gets his act together, the 2012 7th Round could be a goldmine for the Patriots. Okay, I got way off on a tangent as usual. I wrote to talk about Nate Ebner.
I don't know if this kid makes the team, but he was probably the most fun pick for me to read about. Intriguing height, weight, and speed numbers for a safety, a position we need to improve. He's 6'1, 215 lbs., and runs a 4.4 in the forty. HOWEVER, he has virtually no experience playing safety, and he's coming to a team known for the complexity of its schemes. Ebner is a rugby player, a very good rugby player, who was a walk on in college football. He played only a handful of snaps at safety. By all accounts, he was a terrific special teams player though. So, it's kind of a fun story. If he can contribute, even if it's just as a special teamer, it'd be nice to see him make the team. The Belichick Pats usually prize versatility, and the kid is very one dimensional if he can only cover kicks and punts. It'd be great if he could develop as a safety. Although as a rugby player, maybe he could pick up the running back position even better. After all, he should have lots of ball handling and tackle eluding and breaking experience. Also, he has to be tough, being used to hitting with no helmet or pads to protect him.
Here's the Rugby Mag article about Ebner: