Southern California Senior
Has good hands and does a good job adjusting to throws when working in the flat as an outlet receiver. Uses his body well to shield defender and get position as a receiver. Shows some ability after the catch, able to make some moves to make defenders miss in space. Flashes some pop when working as a lead blocker out of the backfield. Can deliver the initial hit in space and hit his assignments on the edge. Has decent pop as an inline blocker and able to get position, even when going up against bigger defenders. Shows decent ability to hit his assignments and chip defenders when working in pass protection in the backfield.
Lacks vision as a lead blocker when working from the fullback position. A straight-line guy that can't adjust in space and locate new targets on the second level. Misses too many assignments when blocking out on the edge. Struggles to maintain his block after initial contact because he doesn't do a good job locking on and driving the legs. Does a poor job getting leverage at the point of attack against a defender in the hole as a lead blocker, as he doesn't play low enough. Doesn't really have size or strength to get much push as an inline blocker.
Ellison played primarily as a fullback with USC this past year, although he did get reps as an inline tight end at times. He was more effective on the fewer instances I saw as an inline tight end than he was as a lead blocker out of the backfield. But his experience playing both makes him a versatile option for any offense looking for an extra blocker that can fill a variety of roles. He's a solid outlet receiver but lacks the sort of speed or burst to really be a major factor in the passing game. His father, Riki played linebacker for the 49ers (1983-89) and Raiders (1990-92).
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Minnesota: 3 targets, 3 rec., 22 yds (7.3 avg) 20 YAC (6.7 avg), 0 TDs; 1 missed block, Lead Block: 2/3
(9/10) vs. Utah: 2 tgt., 0 rec., 0 yds, 0 TDs; 2 key blocks, Lead Block: 4/11
(10/13) at California: 1 tgt., 1 rec., 4 yds (4.0 avg), 4 YAC (4.0 avg), 0 TDs; 1 fumble
(11/4) at Colorado: 2 tgt., 2 rec., 10 yds (5.0 avg), 11 YAC (5.5 avg), 0 TDs; 2 key blocks, Trap: 2/2; 1 blocked FG
2011: 12 GP/7 GS, 22 catches, 133 yds, 6.0 avg, 2 TDs
- missed 4 games in 2008 due to a broken right ankle
Ellison can develop into a capable role player at the next level. He's a better fit as a tight end than he is as a fullback, but as I stated earlier, at least has some experience at the latter position that can make him serviceable there with some continued development. At best, you're probably hoping for a decent No. 2 tight end that if he can continue to get bigger and stronger can be an effective blocker. He's not a guy that is going to really shine in the jumbo and big sets that teams typically want out of the No. 2 tight end, but on a pass-heavy offense that already has a top-notch No. 1 tight end, he can make a capable No. 2 option sort of in the David Thomas mold. The key with Ellison will be his ability to play special teams. If he can produce and perform there early on, he can earn a roster spot and then develop there. Eventually he should fine a role somewhere in the NFL, but he might become one of those journeyman guys early on that bounces from camp to camp early on. His offensive tools alone aren't going to carve out a significant niche for him in the pros, but if he couples what he can do offensively with ability on special teams, he can easily become the type of player that NFL teams keep around for a while because he's a versatile backup that you can plug and play in a variety of situations. It's comparable to a player like Jason Snelling in that he can do a lot of things capably, but doesn't excel in any one particular area.
Ellison is capable of pushing Michael Palmer for his job, although it's doubtful he'd unseat Palmer right away. But potentially you're looking for them to be the same sort of player that Justin Peelle was formerly for the Falcons. Neither will be as good blockers as Peelle was in his prime, but they can be decent blockers that are also capable, but unspectacular pass catchers. And like Palmer, Ellison has that versatility to work as an H-back. Ellison is good enough to land the No. 3 job at tight end right away, but like Palmer he's a career backup. He can be a good career backup in Atlanta, but he's not going to bring anything really new to the table that Palmer does not. Thus, he'd be hard-pressed to unseat him long-term. But Ellison's best avenue will showing himself early on to be a valuable commodity on special teams, something Palmer hasn't really stood out on.
Ellison's lack of upside to be anything more than a second or third option at tight end probably means he wouldn't make much of a draft pick. If a team looking for a versatile role player took him in the seventh round, that wouldn't be a reach. But he's more of a priority free agent than a guy you really want to spend a draft pick on.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Body Control: 5.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.