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  • Steven Pintado

Draft Bust Series Part 4: TE Eric Ebron

Another series is on its way to a close, as I discuss the final edition of my 2019 draft bust series.

This time we will be highlighting Eric Ebron of the Indianapolis Colts. Based off what he was able to do last year, Ebron should see regression. Currently, his ADP is 71 which puts him in round seven in most formats. I’m going to explain why you shouldn’t draft him and if you do he’ll be determined a bust.

Let’s begin with what kind of player he was over his time with the Detroit Lions. Over four seasons with the Lions, Ebron’s average was 46.5 receptions and 517.5 receiving yards with 2.75 touchdowns per season. Those numbers really don’t shout, “Top seven tight end!”, even with the position lacking quality players throughout the league.

Ebron has never even cracked the top 10 in the position. Let's look at where he finished from 2015 to 2017: TE13, TE14, and TE12. The game plan wasn’t tailored around him, as his highest finish in target shares in this time frame was only 15%. He was a mediocre tight end at best.

Why was Ebron so successful in 2018? For one, the Colts love to use their tight ends. The position had a 26% target share on the season. Ebron took advantage of the competition that they had in Indianapolis, as their second-best wide receiver was Chester Rogers. Ebron benefited from Jack Doyle being out for most of the season, as well. He also had an absurd touchdown percentage as he scored every 19 receptions.

Going into 2019, there are many challenges upon him, such as trying to reattempt that ridiculous 13 touchdown season. Jack Doyle will be back and healthy coming into the year. When Doyle was on the field, Ebron saw a huge drop in snaps during those games. In the five games that they played together, Doyle’s snap count was double of that of Ebron’s. If this pattern repeats this year, then Ebron will see less opportunity for targets and touchdowns.

Snaps-per-game with both Doyle and Ebron on the field

The Colts finally brought in some competition via the wide receiver core. They went out and signed Devin Funchess and drafted Paris Campbell in this year’s draft. These players will demand targets, leading to a dramatic decline in Ebron’s 110 targets he saw a year ago. If we add the running game to the mix, it’s likely that a healthy Marlon Mack will take over the offense this year.

Ebron was a product of opportunity last season and coming into 2019, those opportunities won’t look the same. Do yourself a favor and take a tight end with more opportunity going into the season to help you reach that championship goal. If you draft Ebron, then you will be majorly disappointed and he will end up being your draft bust.

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