On paper this game should be a blowout by North Carolina as they possess the lions share of next level talent. Then again the Bearcats have won a number of game with grit and heart this season. Jon Dove offers his predictions on the top next level players in this contest.
Eric Ebron/TE/North Carolina: Eric Ebron is a very intriguing prospect because of his big-play potential. Ebron’s combination of size, speed and catch radius makes him a major threat in the passing game. He has proven that he’s capable of making plays deep down field and across the middle. The success of players like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski really helps Ebron. He’s a similar player in that he’s a matchup nightmare. However, Ebron isn’t a perfect prospect needing to improve his consistency. The biggest issue surrounding his game is that he tends to drop some easy passes. This occurs because Ebron will take his eye off the ball and lose focus. He’ll come off the board somewhere in the first round because of his potential, but there’s some risk. 1st Round
Kareem Martin/DE/North Carolina: Kareem Martin features the length, quickness and athleticism evaluators look for in a potential pass rusher. However, he needs to improve his feel for the game in order to maximize his talents. Martin spends more time thinking rather than reacting. This slows his jump off the ball, ability to keep clean and overall impact. Evaluating Martin based on his game tape doesn’t do justice to his athletic ability. However, he doesn’t have much of a future at the next level if he can’t learn to trust his instincts and play at full speed. Late 4th Round
James Hurst/T/North Carolina: James Hurst is a savvy and experience offensive line prospect. He knows how to use proper angles, gain inside hand placement and works to keep his pads low. However, Hurst lacks the overall athleticism to hold up in space over the long haul. His biggest issues come when the pass rusher employs an inside counter move. Hurst doesn’t have the change of direction ability to react to these counters. Another thing hurting his overall draft position is that he lacks upside. He’s basically maxed out as an athlete and player. Whoever drafts Hurst should know what to expect from this reliable but limited player. Late 4th Round
Tre Boston/S/North Carolina: Tre Boston is a physical and aggressive safety prospect. His strength is his ability and willingness to support the run. However, he has proven to be a liability in coverage where he struggles identifying routes. Boston’s aggressiveness versus also impacts his coverage skills because he’s too quick to attack the line of scrimmage. While Boston flashes solid quickness he doesn’t have that elite closing speed that would propel him into the early-round discussion. 6th Round
Tim Scott/CB/North Carolina: Tim Scott is a reliable cornerback who isn’t afraid to play a physical brand of football. North Carolina allows him to play close to the line of scrimmage and then drop into zone coverage. Scott’s lack of elite athleticism is one of the reasons why a zone system will fit him best at the next level. Entering this past season, Scott looked like a player who could work his way in the mid-round mix. However, he allowed more than a handful of big plays and really didn’t develop as a prospect. Scott still has a chance to make a roster but it’s no slam dunk. 6th Round
Bryn Renner/QB/North Carolina: This was a really disappointing season for Bryn Renner whose play took a step backwards. While Renner has natural talent, he struggles with the mental aspect of the game. His most apparent weaknesses are his lack of accuracy and tendency to make poor decisions. A shoulder injury not only cut his season short but will also limit his draft workouts. It wouldn’t be a shock if Renner didn’t hear his name called during May’s draft. However, in the right situation he still has a chance to develop into a backup. 7th Round to Undrafted