Eric Ebron, the gifted tight end out of North Carolina, has a simple and fair rule.
He's not going to talk himself up ... unless he can back up whatever he says.
"I feel like I work hard, so I should brag about it," Ebron said. "I don’t brag about things I can’t do."
Which, if you've seen Ebron play (or heard him speak), you know that he has plenty to say about his ability.
Ebron has emerged as the clear top tight end prospect in the draft, after his 62-catch, 973-yard season for the Tar Heels last year. He's almost certain to go into the first round, given how teams have seen the effect a big, fast, movable tight end can have on an offense.
He will likely help himself out next week at the combine, too. Ebron is 6-4, 250 pounds and his athleticism will play well at the combine. Ebron can run so well that he once declared his speed should be illegal. When he is reminded of that line he laughs, and doesn't back down from it. After all, if he can do it ...
"I do have illegal speed. I do," Ebron said as part of promoting Gillette Clinical Clear Gel Deodorant’s “Pressure Points” web series with NFL Films. "Turn on game tape and watch me run, for that guy to be a tight end ... he does have illegal speed."
You wouldn't think it, but the confident and entertaining Ebron said he's most nervous about talking at the combine. Well, not necessarily talking – "Talking isn’t a problem, I can do that in my sleep," he says – but answering questions. He has no worries about any physical tests, but going in to meet with coaches he has seen on television is a little unusual. He has heard horror stories of combine interviews with teams, so he's not sure what to expect.
"My hands like to sweat a lot," Ebron said, before plugging Gillette by saying it has the rest of his sweating problems under control. "When I meet these coaches, which will be like a dream come true, it’ll be ridiculous."
One thing Ebron isn't worried about is his weight. There was a recent report by Bleacher Report's respected NFL columnist Dan Pompei that Ebron has put on "significant weight" to be a better blocker, via his NFL sources, and he isn't as fast as he was. Not true, Ebron said.
Ebron, who wasn't pleased to see that report and said it is inaccurate, said he weighs 250 pounds, not far from his weight last year of about 245, and is in great shape for the combine after his preparation.
"If they’re expecting an overweight tight end, it's not me," Ebron said.
He said he thinks he has shown he can be a capable blocker at about 250 pounds, and isn't worried about that part of the game. That's not why an NFL team will draft him anyway.
Ebron said he has molded himself after San Francisco's Vernon Davis, and that seems to be a fair comparison. Davis is a freakish athlete who is the 49ers' best deep threat, something not many tight ends in NFL history can say. But it's a different era, and athletes like Ebron are the new prototype.
"Definitely planning on coming in there and turning a lot of people’s heads," Ebron said. "I plan on running fast and putting up great numbers. Next week is my showcase."
Hey, he wouldn't say it if he didn't think he was going to back it up.
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