Eric Ebron (left) is widely viewed as the top tight end in the 2014 draft class. (Nell Redmond/AP)
With the NFL draft quickly approaching, the top of the first round is dominated by uncertainty. Just outside that dramatic top half of Thursday's selections sit the Baltimore Ravens, who are hoping that everything plays out in their favor, allowing their top target to fall into their laps at the No. 17 overall pick. That targeted player is reportedly North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron.
Tony Pauline of NFL Draft Insider reports that the Ravens front office has "coveted" Ebron for a long time and that he is viewed as the top target on the team's draft board.
Of course, there are teams like the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and division rival Pittsburgh Steelers ahead of the Ravens that may make it difficult for Ebron to fall out of the first half of the round.
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Buffalo is looking to surround young quarterback E.J. Manuel with targets in the passing game, so Ebron would be an obvious choice for the Bills at No. 9 overall. The Giants have some questions at tight end and were previously reported as a potential fit for Ebron, but Pauline notes the Giants have been somewhat turned off by some personality concerns.
That would leave the Steelers as one of the final hurdles for Baltimore's pursuit of Ebron, and possibly the toughest.
The Steelers are looking to add another pass-catching threat to the offense for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and Ebron would provide the big, athletic body over the middle that the team currently lacks. Throw in the fact that Heath Miller is not getting any younger, and Ebron could be a smart selection. The only question is whether or not Ebron would fit with the Steelers' offensive philosophy due to his weaknesses as a blocker.
In just a few days, we will find out if any of those teams make an early move for Ebron, while the Ravens will likely have their fingers crossed that he will be on the board when they go on the clock for the first time on Thursday.
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