2014 NFL Draft Bowl Game Preview: Belk Bowl – North Carolina vs. Cincinnati

Eric EbronIt was a tale of two seasons for the Tar Heels, as they got off to a rough 1-5 start to the season, but finished 5-1 with their only loss coming to Duke. Cincinnati on the other hand had a strong 9-3 season in the AAC, losing two close games to Louisville and South Florida.

Cincinnati features one of the top defenses in the country, however they haven’t faced the schedule UNC has. Both teams rank in the top 25 in passing yardage so expect a high scoring game with lots of big plays.


Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina, #85
Ebron is a junior who has already announced his intention of entering the 2014 Draft, where it’s expected that he will go in the first round. He is a major threat in the passing game, where he represents a good combination of height and speed. His biggest improvement this season has been in the run blocking game, where he saw huge benefits from adding 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason. Ebron reminds me a bit of Vernon Davis so I’m excited to see how he performs at the Combine.

James Hurst, OT, North Carolina, #68
Hurst was a star recruit and four year starter for UNC during his time there and he expects to go high in the draft. He is close to 6’7 but has a skinnier frame than most left tackles which is hurting his stock a bit. He isn’t the most physical lineman out there but he does well getting to the second level and anchoring his position in the pass rush. In my opinion, he is a low ceiling and high floor player. Barring a major injury, I don’t see him being a ‘bust’ at the NFL level but I also don’t see him ever becoming an elite, All-Pro player.

Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina, #95
Martin represents one of the most debated players in this draft class. At times some people have seen him as a top 10 pick, and at others he is a late Day 3 selection. He had a strong season, with 11 sacks and 78 tackles, however 6.5 sacks came against Pittsburgh, Old Dominion, and Middle Tennessee, all which have weak offensive lines. He is a speed rusher, who tends to rely primarily on his speed to make plays, although he has an impressive reach he could use better. I see Martin as an early Day 3 selection, however I wouldn’t be surprised if a team falls in love with him and takes him much earlier.

Tre Boston, S, North Carolina, #10
One of my favorite players coming into this season for his knack to always be around the ball and making plays. Unfortunately, this year has been a bit of a disappointment as Boston has been out of position and given up a few big plays. He still has the size and athleticism you look for in a safety, as well as the ability to help out in both the run and pass game. I see him as an early Day 3 selection currently, but won’t be surprised if he steps in immediately as a starter.

Greg Blair, ILB, Cincinnati, #51
Blair is an impressive inside backer, who has strong enough pass rush and cover skills that he could be a three down backer. He also appears to have enough size to player 3-4 or 4-3 so he could fit with just about every team. He has great acceleration which allows him to make plays sideline-to-sideline. I’m excited to see if he stands out against a team like UNC.

Other Players to Watch
AJ Blue, RB, North Carolina, #15
Tim Jackson, DT, North Carolina, #93
Darius Lipford, ILB, North Carolina, #23
Jabari Price, CB, North Carolina, #4

Devan Drane, CB, Cincinnati, #11
Anthony McClung, WR, Cincinnati, #6

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