The Steelers front office felt that Eric Ebron was worth a free agent contract without asking you or any of us. That’s okay. The right people are paid to make those decisions, while we judge from afar.
For some reason, I’ve been given the responsibility to rate the performance of Kevin Colbert, Omar Khan and company on nothing but speculation. It’s not easy, but I’ll give it a whirl. Despite my less than prestigious BTSC teaching certificate, I have to issue the necessary disclaimer. You know the story; of course, I’m not a football coach, or a teacher, but I play one in blogs and podcasts. All offseason, I had certain expectations that the Steelers would be sitting at home grounded and watching Netflix without the chillin’ while their friends are going at it at Inspiration Point. But then a group of Steelers banded together much like the thousands of slaves that stood up, banded together and declared “I am Spartacus” to save Kirk Douglas’ character (in the 1960 classic Spartacus) from execution and restructured their deals to free up cap space. So voila, we are back in business. Except those slaves were ultimately executed. But hopefully you get the point.
Assessing game day grades is an extremely difficult and somewhat thankless task. While the coaches’ grades, of course, are what counts the most, the media and fans can’t help but evaluate as well. All letter grades are simply based on the eye test of somebody watching at home. That’s me. Then the masses come in like a flock of seagulls and poop on the efforts of the author, only to fly away and hide behind their online moniker.
Grading personnel decisions is even tougher. We have to wait nearly six months to actually know if our grades our on the money. This time I decided to enlist my friends to help. Since I don’t have any...I recruited a few of my colleagues at BTSC. They resisted, but relented. But I now have to name my next five kids Jefferson, Lancelot, Dave, Tony and Cliff Harris is Still a Punk. Joke’s on them though. I think the vasectomy took.
With that being electronically said, let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:
TE Eric Ebron - Indianapolis Colts
Overall Grade: A-
Eric Ebron came at a much lower price tag than I expected. The two-year/$12 million dollar deal has the possibility for both extreme risk and high reward. The risk is that Ebron missed 13 games in six NFL seasons and was shut down last year due to surgery on both ankles, but when healthy Ebron could put up great numbers like his 2018 season when the UNC Tar Heel has 66 catches for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns. Through his first six seasons, Ebron’s stats (except for playing 19 less games) were nearly identical to Heath Miller’s first six seasons.
Miller 102 games, 286 catches, 3233 yards, 29 touchdowns
Ebron 83 games, 283 catches, 3195 yards, 27 touchdowns
While Ebron is not nearly the blocker that Miller was, he’s a dangerous weapon for Roethlisberger and shows that the Steelers are all in for 2020.
Tony Defeo: A
Great pickup, which gives Ben another weapon and turns the tight end position into a strength.
Jeff Hartman: B
His injury history scares me, but his talent is undeniable. The red-zone threat the Steelers desperately need.
Lance Williams: A
Ebron provides explosiveness at the Tight End position and gives the Steelers the ability to attacks defenses in 12 personnel.
Dave Schofield: B-
Ebron has the potential to be a fantastic signing. He also has the potential to really hurt because of how much it cost if it doesn’t pan out. And Steelers fans still haven’t gotten over Ladarius Green. So there are all kinds of cautious feelings when it comes to signing a tight end like this.
K.T. Smith (CHISAP): A-
I speculated on signing him back in February and was told by many we’d never be able to afford him. To get him for 2/$12 million is great. If he can stay healthy he is precisely what we needed in the passing game - a field-stretching TE. Even if he misses time, the contract makes it worth the gamble.
Bryan Anthony Davis: B-
The success of Ebron may hinge on health, his own and that of Ben Roethlisberger. He’s an excellent weapon In the red zone and will open up opportunities for others in the offense as well. He does have the potential to drop balls though and he needs to stay healthy and be paired with a great quarterback. If the planets align just right, this is a huge signing.
Now it is your turn to play teacher. Use the polls and the comments section below. We can compare notes in the teachers lounge.
How would you grade the Steelers’ signing of TE Eric Ebron
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