The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a tight end for the 2020 season. So, in the offseason, they acquired Former Pro-Bowler, Eric Ebron. At the time this seemed like a good investment. However, looking back it was not such a good deal. There is a reason that both the Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts let Ebron go. Eric Ebron is nothing but a glorified large wide receiver. Eric Ebron is not a good NFL tight end.
As a Receiver
Ebron was once thought to be one of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL. That is the reason why the Steelers signed him. However, when you actually look past the numbers and watch his film, he is nothing more than extremely average.
He is an okay route runner but does not easily get away from coverage. His only redeeming factor is his ability to make spectacular contested catches. However, this benefit is immediately nullified, due to the fact that Ebron often fails to catch the easy passes. So, in the rare instance where he does get open, it is less than 50/50 if the ball ends up in his hands. Eric Ebron is not good at catching the ball.
As a Blocker
One of the main purposes of the tight end is to be an extra blocker on run plays. Ebron cannot do this. Although he is not the only person at fault, he is one of the reasons for the Steelers’ struggling run game. As TE1 he has to be able to block, but he cannot. Several plays this season Eric Ebron has let pass rushers and run blockers through. They went through him as if he wasn’t even there.
The difference in blocking quality can be observed between the first and second half of the season. At the beginning of the season, Vance McDonald was the lead tight end. Ebron was still being groomed into the offense, therefore played less. In those games where McDonald was TE1, the Steelers ran the ball much better. However, in the second half of the season when Ebron took over, the run game collapsed. Eric Ebron is not good at blocking.
At the end of the day, Eric Ebron is being paid to play with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they are stuck with him. However, there is a reason why the Lions and the Colts let him walk. He is not good at his job, and Pittsburgh is the latest place that he is going to disappoint.