Friday, August 17, 2012

Catching up with Nate Ebner

August 16, 2012

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sixth-round draft choice Nate Ebner was selected with special teams in mind, as he was widely viewed as Ohio State's best player in the kicking game. Furthermore, he only played a few snaps on defense in his final season with the Buckeyes.

Still, one of the things that has stood out in recent training camp practices is Ebner's ball skills at safety (he's had a few interceptions this week).

On Tuesday, director of player personnel Nick Caserio was asked about Ebner and his work on defense.

"[He] didn’t really have a lot of experience just defensively at Ohio State but [he's a] smart kid, [and] understood what they were doing real well defensively. I think he’s learning. I think it’s a process for him," Caserio relayed. "But he has good size [6-0, 210], he’s smart, [and] he can run."

Caserio added that for such an inexperienced defender, there are things Ebner will have to learn from a technique standpoint, in addition to reacting quickly to formations and shifts, and being able to communicate that.

The coaching staff has tested him early, at times putting him on the field with some of the club's other top defenders.

Ebner, who missed the first week of camp with an undisclosed injury after passing his conditioning test, spoke with reporters after Wednesday's practice and said he's accepting every challenge put in front of him.

"It's been great to be a part of this team," said Ebner, who played on two of the top special teams units in the preseason opener. "I have good people to watch and learn from. We have a lot of great leaders on this team, and good guys to follow in their footsteps."

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