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Kiper says UNC TE Eric Ebron would be a 'heck of a pick' for Ravens

FootballBaltimore RavensDennis PittaEd DicksonTroy TrojansMarqise Lee

Although the Ravens have targeted wide receiver as a position they want to upgrade this offseason, that's unlikely to be done at the expense of the tight end spot.

With tight end Dennis Pitta schedule to become an unrestricted free agent along with Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark, the only tight end under contract is former Maryland player Matt Furstenburg. So, the Ravens will need some reinforcements beyond retaining Pitta.

And ESPN draft analyst and Jarrettsville resident Mel Kiper Jr. made a case for the Ravens using their first-round draft pick on athletic North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. Ebron is an All-American who caught 62 passes for 973 yards and three touchdowns this fall.

“If Eric Ebron from North Carolina is there, he’s a heck of a pick,” Kiper said during a conference call. “They need a tight end desperately added to this team. Ed Dickson moves on. You’ve got Pitta, but Ebron, to me, is a guy to me who could really help Joe Flacco and be a viable pick at that point. He could even go earlier."

Kiper projected Ebron to the Ravens in a mock draft. The Ravens will hold either the 16th or 17th pick of the first round after a coin flip with the Dallas Cowboys at the NFL scouting combine.

"I'm different," Ebron said at the Senior Bowl, which he attended to network with NFL scouts even though he couldn't play in the game as an underclassmen. "I have versatility, something a lot of other people don't have. Just being a part of what guys like Jimmy Graham already started and taking that step forward, that's exciting."

Should the Ravens not go for a tight end, Kiper mentioned imposing Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans and USC wide receiver Marqise Lee as options for them in the first round.

Evans is 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and caught 69 passes for 1,394 yards and a dozen touchdowns last season playing with star Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Lee finished with 57 receptions for 791 yards and four touchdowns last season for the Trojans, but he had 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012 when he was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver.

"If [Ebron] goes earlier, then maybe you look at Marqise Lee or Mike Evans," Kiper said. "So one of those two, Evans, the big receiver with the great ball skills out of Texas A&M, great hand-eye coordination. So, I think the tight end Ebron or the wide receiver Evans would be nice picks for the Ravens at [No.] 16."

Kiper also mentioned Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro (6-5, 257), Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas (6-6, 270), Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (6-6, 276) and Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (6-6, 262) as possibilities in the second round or third round for the Ravens.

Fiedorowicz had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. He met with the Ravens and likes the idea of working in tandem with Pitta.

"I've watched Pitta a couple of times, and he's a little more of a receiver," Fiedorowicz said last month. "He's a good athlete. I think I can fit in with the Ravens."

awilson@baltsun.com
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FootballBaltimore RavensDennis PittaEd DicksonTroy TrojansMarqise Lee
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