04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Patriots' picks: Round 6/197 -- Nate Ebner, CB, 6-1, 205, Ohio State...Ebner has the height to be a solid NFL cornerback, but won't make much of an immediate impact defensively as a rookie. Much like Matthew Slater did his rookie year, Ebner's chance to contribute will be on special teams. QUOTE TO NOTE: "It happens so fast. It's just one big blur, and then it's over. I just love it. It's just amazing. Maybe I got a screw loose." -- Sixth-round draft pick Nate Ebner on his excitement for returning kicks and playing special teams. - The Sports Xchange
A high school rugby player, Ebner was on the United States U19 and U20 national teams and was the MVP of the Rugby World Cup in '07 and '08. At 17, he was the youngest player ever to participate in the National 7's.
Ebner didn't take up football until college, when the coaching staff started grooming him in the secondary as a walk-on in 2009.
He served as a reserve safety the past three years, and his potential role in the NFL is as a special teams player - at least early on. He had just 11 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss in 12 games as a senior.
Strengths: Good natural athlete with above average playing speed. Aggressive, tough, tenacious and is always going at full-go on the field. Plays with his hair on fire with a sense of urgency. Good functional strength, working his tail off in the weight room. Self-made player as a former walk-on, earning his way onto the team. Gets most out of his ability and plays with nonstop motor. A favorite in the locker room, heavily respected by teammates and coaches.
Weaknesses: Limited experience with football as a former rugby player, not even playing in high school. Limited to special teams coverage and need a lot of grooming to ever get a chance at safety. Will play too fast at times and needs to hone the aggressiveness. Reckless playing style could result in injuries. Doesn't have great size and looks maxed out physically.