Welcome to Learning from History, where I dig into every fantasy season since 1985 to find historical comparisons for modern players.
Today's subject is Eric Ebron, a man whose 2018 breakout caught most observers by surprise and leaves us wondering what comes next for him. Ebron is a doubly-interesting subject because we can see not only what history suggests might be in store in 2019 and beyond, it can also speak to how much of a surprise 2018 should have been. And by looking at what history had to say about his last season, maybe we can gain new insight into what history might have to say about his next one.
Before we begin, here's the quick introduction that dives into the methods and the goals of the series. If you want a better explanation of what I mean by "value", or if you wonder about the advantages or limitations of historical comparisons, that's a great place to start. (If you enjoy the series and want to read more, that page also includes links to every installment.)
On the other hand, if you just want to know what might lie in store for Eric Ebron based on the players who have come before, read on.
Comparison #1: Highly-Drafted Tight Ends
I alluded already to the fact that perhaps if we'd been paying attention to history prior to 2018, Ebron's breakout might not have come as such a surprise. What I meant by that is (perhaps more than any other position) highly-drafted tight ends have a tremendously high success rate. Here's every tight end selected in the first round of the NFL draft from 1985 (the beginning of my data set) to 2014 (when Ebron was drafted) sorted by what pick they were selected with. I've also included how much fantasy value they accumulated in their careers.