Plays with a good motor and will give chase to ballcarrier downfield and can make the play in pursuit. Plays with better range than you expect, able to work laterally down the line and make the stop. Has a nice first step to get leverage against the run. Has the size to hold up at the point of attack and take on double teams. Has long arms, allowing him to get extension and leverage and can get off blocks to make the stop. Flashes potential as a bull rusher due to his short area power, but most effective with a swim move to get upfield and get penetration. Does a nice job getting his hands up to bat down passes.
Doesn't beat double teams consistently, as he can get pushed back too easily and walled off by blockers. Doesn't get upfield consistently to set the line of scrimmage. Needs to do a better job disengaging from blocks. Lumbering when he's out moving in space, and despite his athleticism, looks heavy and not fluid.
Ellis was a player that flashes his dominance at the FCS level, but not to the degree where he was consistently a man amongst boys. But you like to see a guy with his size play with a motor as high as his, and you definitely see the skill and potential to be a very good 2-gap nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme in the future. In 3 years at Hampton, he combined for 184 tackles, 37.5 for loss, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 6 recoveries, improving his production every year. He started out at South Carolina, where he had 11 tackles and 3 for loss as a freshman reserve. But he was suspended the following year for reportedly multiple failed drug tests before transferring to Hampton. He was suspended for this past year's opener for undisclosed reasons, but presumably for similar drug issues. He gained 10 pounds between the all-star game at the beginning of February and the combine at the end of it, which could be a possible red flag about weight.
Ellis is exactly what teams are concerned about with off-field issues. His on-field play is solid. You see there that with more coaching, he could be an impact nose tackle in two or three years. He needs help to refine his technique, but with his strength and motor, he should at the very least be a good rotational nose tackle in the mold of Gabe Watson. In that he's a guy that is effectively, but not consistent enough to be the guy to play 30-50 snaps a game, instead you have to limit him to 20-30. But if he develops then, he can be considered one of the premier nose tackles in the league. I'm not sure he'll be considered in the same vein as elite guys like Casey Hampton or Vince Wilfork at their peaks, but certainly I think he can at least be in the Aubrayo Franklin range. But you worry about the off-field things because if he's constantly dealing with suspensions and drugs during the off-season, is he going to have the focus and put in all the work then to make those improvements? I'm optimistic about Ellis because I tend to focus mainly on what he does on the field, and with his motor and natural power it's hard to see him not be at least somewhat effective. Maybe he doesn't wind up living up to his full potential as a dominant nose tackle, but it's hard not to see him being an above average guy in a few years. The weight is a small concern. He may not be a guy that easily keeps his weight in check, but I haven't heard anything that suggests he's a guy that is going to balloon up to 400 pounds during his first off-season like other big guys often have a tendency to do. I think his ideal weight is going to be in the 330-340 range, but as long as he stays on this side of 365, I'm not overly concerned.
Ellis has size you like to be a power player inside, but if he was to be successful in a 4-3 scheme at the pro level, he would likely have to lose weight. He would probably have to get down to 330 or lower to be most effective as a disruptor. It's possible because he was 336 at one point this off-season, but I think that's probably the lower end of what you can reasonably expect him to be at. He'll never be a big time pass rusher, in that he's a guy that can maybe get 2-3 sacks a year. His value in Atlanta is the ability to eat blocks and make plays vs. the run, which should free up more one on one situations for Jonathan Babineaux and others. But Ellis is a two-down run defender for the Falcons, and he can be a good one, but not as effective as someone that can also pressure the quarterback.
For a 3-4 team, he has second round talent, but the character issues probably drop him to the third round where the risk/reward is much more in a team's favor.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point Of Attack: 3.5
Pass Rush: 2.0
Scouting reports of the defensive tackles in the 2011 Draft.
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