Drew Boylhart 3/09
Dannell Ellerbe LB Georgia
Dannell is one of the best pure middle LB's in this draft. He also has the athletic talent to play all three LB positions. This year I believe Dannell played with an injury and still led his team on defense. He is a strong, powerful kid and is an excellent tackler. Dannell is a three-down LB who can defend equally as well in both single and zone coverage. He has good feet and is very smart and understands situational football. He makes the players and defense around him better. I believe that if he had not tried to play through an injury this year, he would be considered as one of the best LB's in this draft.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Dannell has struggled off the field with typical immaturity issues. These need to be checked out. Also, his injury -- either a knee or ankle -- needs to be looked into. That being said, Dannell has the talent to be considered as one of the best 3 down LB's in this years draft. He is a better run stuffer than the USC kid and is almost as good as Curry in defending in the passing game (at least in his junior year he was)!
TALENT BOARD ROUND 1
Talent wise, in this draft, there is no better LB than Dannell. Off the field issues and injuries make him slide on just about everyone's draft board, but he has 1st round talent. Character issues are always are a big problem for me, but when I don't see drugs and guns as the problem, I tend to want to check things out and look to see if the player has had any continuing problems. If they have one thing in their background and nothing else, I'm willing to take a chance in drafting a player. The big problem for me is when colleges hide continuing off field problems and protect players. I don't know if this is the case with Dannell. Teams who have big LB needs will need to check out Dannell's injuries and off-field character issues. If it makes sense to you to draft him, then by all means do it. As far as pure Middle linebackers in this draft, this kid is the best of them. At least he was in his junior year before his injury. By the way, it looked to me on film this year he was favoring his ankle or knee. I did a check and found out that he had a "sprained knee" earlier in the year. If he truly did not have a sprained knee, then he did not play up to his talents this year. But he still has first round talent! His talent doesn't change, but his "intangibles" to impact consistently for the next level would. See how that works? If his intangibles change, then I would have to give him a 2 TBR score. Right now, I'm sticking to the 1 TBR score because I think this kid's intangibles match his talent and I don't usually downgrade for injuries unless they are chronic. For me, personally (with the small amount of information that I have), I think this kid is going to be a hell of a LB for the team that drafts him. He should be a leader and one of the best defensive players on the field so keep looking at Rob's board to see what round he lands in because drafting Dannell in any round should improve your defense right away.