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2012 Patriots Draft: Analysis of Jeremy Ebert

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The Patriots waited until their final pick of the draft to select an offensive player. Northwestern's WR Jeremy Ebert had plenty of success, picking up 173 receptions for 2400 yards and 21 touchdowns over his four seasons. He was the team's leading receiver over the past two seasons and could challenge for one of the final roster spots.

Standing at 5'11, 200 lbs, Ebert won't be towering over anyone, but his 4.38 40 yard dash and 6.70 3 cone shows potential to be a big play threat. He looks more natural in the slot, but has speed to eventually burn down the seam. On the other hand, his 33 inch vertical and 9'4 broad jump quantify his visible lack of burst from the snap. While Ebert may potentially have the ability to be a deep threat, he will most likely be playing in the slot.

He has great hands and a nose for contact and runs crisp routes- basically everything the Patriots want in a slot receiver. I wouldn't be surprised if Ebert could put Julian Edelman on notice this off-season. Even better, Ebert has only 1 career fumble, which should put him in the coaches favor right away.

2011: Northwestern vs Illinois - See him match-up against Tavon Wilson a couple of times.

Strengths

Leads the team while from the slot- very Wes Welker of him

Great speed to pull away

Solid routes to create separation

Soft hands to pull in any catchable throw

Great on bubble screens

Weaknesses

Takes time to reach top speed

If he's breaking his route, he slows down and allows the defender to pull closer

Lacks ideal burst out of a break and off the snap

Struggles to get off press coverage

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Ebert has all the physicals of a top slot corner and has the production to support it. He seems to be joining Anthony Gonzalez and Julian Edelman in the fight for a roster spot as Wes Welker's back-up and special teams player. Ebert could give a long fight.

In the end, the Patriots traded down from 63 (CB Casey Hayward) to pick up 90 (DE Jake Bequette), 197 (DB Nate Ebner), 224 (DB Alfonzo Dennard), and 235 (WR Ebert). Belichick clearly wasn't impressed by the middle talent in the draft and decided to splurge on some elite players and then let the other picks earn a spot from the roster bubble.

Ebert looks like he could be a solid fit and, if he waits on the practice squad for a season, he could develop into one of the league's top slot receiver. If. Maybe. We'll see.