Andre Ellington Clemson RB Scouting Report

By PFC Draft Writer Matt Moore (@Matt23Moore)

Andre Ellington via www.orangeandwhite.com

 

Overview

Success has followed Andre Ellington at all levels of his football career. Coming out of Berkeley High (SC), ESPN ranked the speedy back as the #44 overall prospect of the 2008 class. Following a 28 touchdown senior year, Under Armor invited him to their prestigious Under Armor/ESPN All-Star Game. Ellington chose to attend Clemson University, where his success continued. Former Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier made Ellington Clemson’s premier back during his redshirt sophomore year in 2010. He ended that season rushing for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns on 118 attempts despite missing 4 games with a toe injury. Things only got better for Ellington during a healthy junior year, rushing for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Last year, Ellington rushed for over 5.0 yards per carry for the third year in a row and over 1,000 rushing yards for the second year in a row. Ellington was awarded First Team All-ACC honors by both the Media and the Coaches for his efforts. NFL teams will be hoping that Ellington can bring the same success that he has had throughout high school and college to a higher level of competition.

Strengths

Ellington has a special knack for finding cutback lanes against the defense, making an overaggressive defense Ellington’s best friend. Once Ellington is in the open, his straight away speed is dangerous. If he can slip a few defenders, he is gone with the blink of an eye. One should not look too far into his unimpressive 4.61 40 yard dash performance in the combine. It was pretty clear that Ellington slowed down due to a tweaked hamstring. Balance is a huge intangible that Ellington brings to the table. He can put on spectacular tight wiring acts alongside the sideline, acrobatic dives into the end zone, and stay on his feet after bone crushing hits.

Weaknesses

Size is an issue for Ellington, who stands only 5’9’’ 199 pounds. He lacks the muscular base of a traditional NFL running back. Perhaps in part due to his lack of size, Ellington appears indecisive when hitting holes. NFL teams will be looking for Ellington to find a bigger burst through gaps and become more confident with decisions. After all, the holes that remained open for an extended period of time in college will close faster in the NFL. He runs with a particularly narrow base. Sometimes this allows him to make quicker cuts, however it hurts his power.

Running Style

Ellington takes quick, choppy steps that help him make cuts on the drop of a dime. He is not someone that is going to lower his head and blow through defenders very often. Instead, Ellington likes to use his quickness to sidestep defenders. He works his way further and further outside with each side step until he can cut back to the opposite side or burn the defense with his straight away speed on the edge. His swift cuts show promise at the next level.

Running Ability

Ellington displays tremendous quickness when he gets to the second level. Even when defenders take good angles on Ellington in the open field, he has a way of eluding tacklers.  Ellington’s stiff arm is an elite tool. He knows how to use it without losing speed or vision. If Ellington can increase his size and power while maintaining his speed and quickness, then the sky is the limit.

Passing Game

The passing game is not one of Ellington’s strong suites. His blocking within the passing game is particularly unappealing. Once again, his lack of size hurts him in this department. He typically ducks his head, something that coaches highly devalue, and blindly lunges forward at oncoming defenders. Not only is this terrible blocking technique, but also a safety concern. It will only take one 300+ pound bull rushing NFL defensive linemen to severely injure Ellington if he uses the same blocking technique he did in college. In terms of receiving, Ellington is not a terrible option but not particularly outstanding.

Character

It’s hard to question the captain of a team’s character. Coaches have raved about Ellington’s ability, as well the mentality he brings to football. Former Clemson leaders such as C.J. Spiller and James Davis have clearly had their influence on Ellington. It was a wise decision for Ellington to forego the NFL draft following an impressive junior year. He was able to prove his durability and consistency in an outstanding senior year, thus improving his draft stock. No character issues appear with this four year redshirt.

Possible Teams

Teams will probably hold off on Ellington until the third round. Denver could be looking to pick up a solid running back, due to the injury issues they had with Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno last year. Ellington would present an interesting wrinkle to a Broncos offense that will feature Peyton Manning and Wes Welker. The New York Jets will also be shopping for a running back in the draft after losing Shonn Greene in free agency. They have already picked up former Raider Mike Goodson. However, his resume is unimpressive; 722 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in 5 years of being in the league. Other teams that will be searching for running back options include: the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Steelers.