If the 2019 season showed us anything about the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was probably that, even in the absence of Ben Roethlisberger, there was a lack of playmakers. Or at the very least, it could use another one. new tight end Eric Ebron is hoping to be that playmaker as he joins the black and gold (or yellow, depending upon your preference).
“I am a playmaker. That is all I have ever said since I was in college”, the big man recently told the team’s website. “I won’t be vocal as far as telling you things, but I am a playmaker. I just go out there and try to make plays. That is what I want to bring to the team. Another weapon people have to respect, have to honor, have to get out of their coverages and those things”.
“Plus, it helps Ben identify what they are doing, it’s another weapon people have to respect, people have to honor, people have to get out of their disguises and coverages”, he added. “It helps Ben and makes his job easier, makes my job easier because we are all on the same page. I am just trying to make as many plays as I can, win as many games as I can and be the best teammate I can be. That is ultimately what wins you games. That is it”.
Ebron comes to the Steelers with a certain reputation. For one thing, he is known for making some big and highlight-reel quality plays. He also has a tendency to drop some balls that make you shake your head. He doesn’t do much in the way of blocking. He has an injury history. And he’s also known to be outspoken, which could be a good or bad thing depending upon who is the judge.
Ebron comes to the Steelers with 27 touchdowns over his six-year career, including 16 over the past two seasons, though 13 came in one year. He has 32 receptions of 20 yards or more over the course of his career, 21 of which came during his four seasons with the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford. He had 11 over the past two years with the Indianapolis Colts, including seven from Andrew Luck in the 16 games that they had together.
Ebron is already on the record as being a big fan of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and is looking to become his next best friend. The problem is, Vance McDonald already has the locker next to the quarterback, so he’s going to have to compete in the tight end room for the attention of the man who feeds them the ball.
The closest comparison to a former Steeler to Ebron is Ladarius Green, who only played six games for the team in 2016, but Roethlisberger loved throwing to him. He was targeted 34 times, often on deep passes, catching 18 for 304 yards and one touchdown, averaging 16.9 yards per catch, and 8.9 yards per target.