Scouting Report: Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

By: Pete Davidson : April 15, 2013 4:19am

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It’s a very deep draft for tailbacks and Andre Ellington, on tape, is one of my favorite talents in this draft class. He’s exciting with the ball in his hands and he has the potential to play on all three downs in the NFL.

Ellington is not perfect. He still needs some work in pass protection and that will be a limiter as far as snaps are concerned in his rookie season. The Clemson product is also smaller than the ideal back, though he’s in the same class as backs like Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson and C.J. Spiller.

The red flag, for us at Rotobahn, was Ellington’s combine performance. He clearly pulls up on his first 40 attempt after aggravating a hamstring injury. He ran an almost impossibly slow 4.61. To his credit, Ellington showed up at his pro day and ran a 4.51, but we suspect he was still running at less than full health. Still, 4.51 isn’t going to cut it at his size in the NFL. Not with his running style. He needs to be faster. Our guess is that he is. On draft day, we’ll find out if the NFL agrees. If Ellington is drafted in the first three rounds, they are blowing off the recent 40 times in favor of the speed Ellington has shown in pads on game day.

After a brief glimpse, you should notice a few things.

  • Good balance which helps him after contact.
  • Explosive lateral movement.
  • Good, though perhaps not elite straight line speed.
  • Ability to catch the ball both in the screen game and downfield.
  • Good vision, patience and decision making. Ellington is a confident runner and he has a good feel for the game--he knows when to freelance and knows when to use his blocks.

There are a lot of solid backs in this draft class. The near term fantasy value of Ellington, and many others, will have a whole lot to do with the team that drafts him. If he goes to Kansas City, he is a handcuff option for Jamaal Charles owners. If he gets taken by the Jets, he could have RB2 value at some point in 2012. We’ll just have to wait and see. We think Ellington has a chance to be a primary ball carrier. Right now, the guy needs to get totally healthy, because his speed is the key to his game translating at the NFL level. It would be nice if he went to a team that could give him a shot, like the Bengals, Jets or Packers. We’ll find out in about ten days.

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