If you were shocked by anything Eric Ebron did in 2020, positive or negative, then you simply didn’t pay attention to the guy the Pittsburgh Steelers were getting. But I suspect most fans agree about the season Ebron had. What the Steelers saw when they signed him was exactly what they got.
Red zone threat? Check. Ebron found the end zone four times inside the 20.
Drops? Lots of them. Seven to be exact, second most on the team.
Big plays down the middle of the field? Ebron was an important vertical seam threat for an offense void of them a year ago. No arguing that.
Terrible blocker? Effort was there, I’ll give him that, but he was cover-your-eyes bad.
But that was what the Pittsburgh Steelers signed up for. If they were disappointed in his season, that’s their own fault. And it’s the biggest reason why I suspect Ebron will return in 2021. Which is a fair decision. Despite his faults, he provides clear value to the team. And in an offseason where you can kiss Vance McDonald goodbye, the Steelers probably aren’t amped up to dump their tight end room and rely on Kevin Rader and Zach Gentry to carry the torch.
Stepping back, Ebron was a weapon in the passing game. You had to stomach untimely drops to get there but check out his final numbers: 58 receptions, 558 yards, and five touchdowns. A quality “fives” club to be in. In Steelers’ history, here’s the list of tight ends to finish a season with at least 50 receptions, 500 yards, and five scores. It’s a short one.
Steelers’ Tight End “Five-Five-Five” Club
Eric Ebron – 2020
Heath Miller – 2009, 2012
Eric Green – 1993
Elbie Nickel – 1952
Ebron, Miller, Green, and Nickel. Great company to be part of. Ebron was a weapon down the middle of the field, an element that will be even more important if JuJu Smith-Schuster leaves in free agency. Ebron’s unlikely to get an extension after 2021, the final year of the two-year pact he signed, but he’s worth keeping for another season. And Pittsburgh would be wise to draft his replacement this April.