We take a look back at Nate Ebner's 2016 season and offer our predictions for 2017.
2016 Honors & Awards: Associated Press All-Pro: Second Team
2016 Regular Season Stats: 16 games played, 19 special teams tackles
Nate Ebner had a career year for the Patriots on special teams:
- Ebner finished the regular season tied for the league lead in special teams tackles with 19 on the year, which was also a career high for the fifth-year defensive back. He has had 10 or more tackles in each of his five NFL seasons.
- His 19 special teams tackles were the most in a season by a Patriots player since Don Davis and Larry Izzo each totaled 20 on the year in 2005.
- Ebner had a career season for the Patriots after missing the first two preseason contests and part of training camp to compete on the 2016 U.S. Olympic rugby squad. He became the first Patriots player to participate in the Olympics while a member of the team.
Belichick on Ebner: "Nate [Ebner]'s had a really good year for us. There are a lot of things he does that most people wouldn't notice… He's been very productive. He's just from an overall – he's a good player obviously. He's fast. He's strong. He's got good instincts. He tackles very well and he gets to the ball, can beat blockers. He's a good blocker in the return game but he's kind of gone to another level in terms of his awareness and anticipation of things that happen out there."
Ebner in 2017: The versatile special teamer will continue to be a vital cog in the Patriots kicking game, both in coverage and on returns. His athleticism and tenacity put him around the football on virtually every punt and kickoff.