The New England Patriots truly have an abundance of talent at the wide receiver position. It’s probably their strongest and deepest group. Wes Welker may be very unhappy about his contract, but he claims he will not hold out this season. Chad Ochocinco tries to hold on for another year, former Illini star Brandon Lloyd will compete with Deion Branch to be the team’s deep threat, and 2007 perfect season role players Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth are back in the mix. Don’t forget Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater and Northern Illinois and Riverside-Brookfield High School product Britt Davis.
Jeremy Ebert from Northwestern is hoping to find his niche in New England as well.
Ebert was one of the first picks this past draft to sign a deal, and one of the best receivers in the Big Ten during his four year starting career in Evanston.
From Tina Akouris, Chicago Sun-Times:
he played as a true freshman and four years later became the Wildcats’ first receiver since D’Wayne Bates in 1998 to have a 1,000-yard season. Ebert had 75 receptions for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011.
But he heard the whispers again his senior year — that he isn’t fast enough, isn’t good enough to play in the NFL, much less get drafted.
And again, Ebert has proved everyone wrong.
The 6-0 slot receiver out of Hilliard, Ohio was drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round and later agreed to a four-year deal worth $2.148 million…
…There wasn’t even any talk of him getting drafted until he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 and 4.4 seconds at the Wildcats’ pro timing day in March. Those 40 times and his athletic catches impressed many NFL scouts, who said, ‘‘Where has this guy been?’’
‘‘I wasn’t hearing much before that,’’ Ebert said. ‘‘Then I talked to a dozen or so teams. Our offense showed my speed where we ran controlled routes and had shorter passes.’’
Patriots coach and ruling czar Bill Belichick finds Ebert to be a great value in the later rounds, and believes his versatility will increase his chances of making the squad. Perhaps the key to Ebert landing a roster spot is his taking that versatility beyond offense to other phases of the game. Rookies and late round picks often need to make their presence felt on special teams in order to catch on with a NFL team.
And the Patriots have asked their WRs to play defensive back on occasion- see Edelman, and Troy Brown. Therefore, if Ebert can show the same explosiveness he displayed within the efficient machine that is the Northwestern passing game, plus the ability to play other positions, he should make the cut.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks