Fans are funny. When the team doesn’t do much on an early day in free agency then the General Manager is terrible. The very next day when transactions are made it becomes “Look who woke up!!” The reality, as it pertains to Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert, is that just because a signing or trade doesn’t happen that doesn’t mean he wasn’t working on it. Today was a perfect example as the Steelers signed tight end Eric Ebron and traded with rival Baltimore for defensive end Chris Wormley.
Let’s Talk Ebron First
As an athlete, there’s no way you can’t like this guy. A former number first round draft pick, he runs a 4.6 forty and has the type of catch radius you love to see from a tight end. As an effective, number one tight end however, I have concerns.
First ask yourself why the Lions didn’t keep him around. Then ask yourself why the Colts chose not to re-sign him. If this is a top-flight tight end then he isn’t on the market. Ebron is not a consistently good blocker. He can be beaten by defensive ends and linebackers far too often. Many will automatically assume he becomes the number one tight end but I’m not so sure.
You’re number one guy has to be able to block better and set the edge on wide runs and he doesn’t do that as well as Vance McDonald. Is Ebron a better receiving threat? Absolutely and that’s why he’s a Steeler. He has the ability to threaten defenses at all levels and has the speed to pick up major yards after catch. But his inconsistent catching combined with average blocking is why he still isn’t in Indy or Detroit. I’m excited about what he could potentially bring on his two year, $12 million deal but I’ve got some reservations as well.
As for the Trade
It’s really unusual to make a trade within your division. It’s even more unusual to trade with your most hated rival but the Steelers did. The Steelers traded a fifth round pick in 2021 to Baltimore for Chris Wormley and a 2021 seventh rounder. Wormley was a 2017 third round selection of the Ravens out of Michigan.
At 6’5″ 300lbs, Wormley played in all 16 games in both 2018 and 2019 starting a total of 13 of those 32. He has 2.5 career sacks. Wormley has the ability to play inside or out but seems destined to be on the outside more often as he doesn’t have the ‘anchor’ you need on the interior.
He’s not a very ‘sudden’ guy and lacks explosion but he’s really technical and appears to be quite football saavy. He will immediately provide depth behind Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt.
I think I may be more excited about the Wormley trade than the Ebron signing. The Steelers can now focus on looking for interior help in the draft or free agency.
Ebron at $6 million per season is a concern. The blocking worries me and the drops are just too much to ignore. That said, I’m willing to see what he can do with Ben Roethlisberger back under center.
Photo image courtesy theindychannel.com