Clemson Running back Andre Ellington is one of the most dynamic rusher in the current 2013 NFL Draft class. Ellington played four years in Clemson, and has never averaged less than 5.1 yards per carry. He had planned to participate in the Senior Bowl, but sustained a hamstring injury during practice and subsequently had to withdraw from the Senior Bowl. He is explosive, and very fun to watch. Below is a preliminary scouting report on Andre Ellington.
5”10, 195 lbs.
Andre Ellington has a smooth style of running, which is possible due to his amazing balance. He is an evasive runner, and even during his sophomore year, he was able to take advantage of this balance. This helps him gain additional yards. He does not lose much speed when cutting back or changing directions. Ellington shows good lowering of his pads when engaging his opponent, and always falls forward for extra yards. Furthermore, he shows a variety of skills, and utilizes them well, including stiff arm, spin moves, and cut backs. Ellington has good short area bursts before the line of scrimmage, and shows great open field long speed as well. He will win against one-on-one contests against most defensive backs. Ellington does not rely on cut blocks in pass pro. Often times you’ll see him engage pass rushers head on, which may not always be a good thing (explained in weakness section), but he can still buy his quarterback enough time. His pass pro skills improved each year. Ellington knows how to hold the ball close to his body, and does an adequate job running with the football. Lastly, Ellington is a good receiver, but this skill is underutilized. Ellington has room to grow to become an every down back.
A major criticism of Ellington is his lack of functional strength, and this is apparent when watching his game tapes. Andre does not possess a strong body, and more often than not will be taken down on first contact. This problem is mitigated by his balance, but it is still a concern if he is against NFL talents. Andre Ellington also gets pushed back by bigger defensive players on pass protection, and he appeared indecisive when to perform a cut block. Early in his collegiate career lacked ball security and he gets stripped more often than the average college running backs.
Andre Ellington’s diminutive size is also a concern. He could add some weight without losing speed, but as it stands he is small relative to NFL average running back size. He suffered mutliple nagging injuries during his collegiate career, including many lower body part injuries that limited him in certain games.
Despite Ellington’s good hands, he will sometimes be out of position for short passes. He needed to make adjustments to catch the ball because he did not run the correct route, and the time wasted in making the adjustment gave defenders ample time to surround him; that often leads to loss of yards.
Andre Ellington’s talent will be hard to ignore when watching his game tape. Most teams will probably see him as a change of pace halfback and early on he will do well to spell a feature back. He has the upside to become a feature back himself, but he must learn to play with more patience and add weight to his size. During the NFL Combine, Ellington was not able to participate in all the drills due to an apparent injury he may have suffered during his 40-yard dash drill. That may also explain his slower than predicted time. Ellington will fit comfortably in any type of offensive, but may be more suited in a zoneblocking scheme. Early projection has Ellington’s name being called no later than day two of the draft.