2012 Patriots Draft: Analysis of Nate Ebner

The Patriots typically save their boom-bust picks for the end of the draft and Ohio State DB Nate Ebner fits the bill. Ebner is a former rugby star who represented the United States in both the U-19 and U-20 teams- and won two Rugby World Cup MVP awards. He's an elite athlete who has limited experience on the football field, just starting his football career at Ohio State. Of course, the fact that he was able to walk on to Ohio State's football team is a testament to his drive and potential.

Ebner stands at 6'0, 202 lbs and runs a 4.55 40, 6.59 3 cone, and 4.04 shuttle. He threw up the bar 23 teams to show off his strength, broad jumped 10'8 to show his explosion, and vertical jumped 39 inches. He's this season's Malcolm Williams, except bigger, stronger, and quicker. Ebner has potential to grow as a safety prospect while contributing immediately on special teams.

Through three seasons of football, Ebner totaled 30 tackles and 1 sack. He won the team's Special Teams Player of the Year award in 2011, as well as the Team's Most Inspirational Player award. Additionally, he earned a scholarship after having walked on to the team.

His drive is evident on the football team as he gave his all on special teams. Here are two videos of his special teams work:

2011: Ohio State vs Akron

2011: Ohio State vs Colorado

There's little information on his ability while on defense, although he has the athletic skill set to succeed. On special teams, his primary job on kick-offs was as a wedge buster and he loves the contact. On punting formations, he was often on the line to slow down the larger tacklers. He has the size and strength to square up against some of the larger players, which could lead to some playing time as a strong safety in the box.

For now, Ebner is a complete project who only has a role on special teams. However, very few would question his passion on the field. He looks like a practice squad player who could earn a spot as one of the last 5 on the roster if he beats out other purely special teams players.

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