Andre Ellington   RB   Clemson   

TALENT BOARD ROUND  4

 

STRENGTHS

Andre is an excellent fit for a team that uses a spread offense. He is a pure tailback who has the quickness, vision and football intelligence of his position that most players coming out of college do not possess.  He has excellent vision in the hole to make the cuts and gain yardage as well as the balance equal to an gymnast working the balance beam.  Andre can catch the ball down the field as well as any receiver coming out in this draft, which makes him available to be used as a slot receiver, gaining extra yardage because of his quickness and ability to change direction on a dime.  When he runs through the tackles he has a unique ability to slip through the line and gain yardage even when he looks like he has been stopped.  Andre has short, quick steps that help him make his cuts with good strength.  He understands how to set up blocks for his offensive linemen on sweeps and, because of his football intelligence and excellent running skills, Andre gets the most out of his size and body type and has been the type of running back that other college defensive coaches have had to game plan for.  He is an impact player at the college level and in the right system, he can be an impact player for the team that drafts him for the NFL. 

 

CONCERNS

Andre does not have the size, bulk or pure speed that will excite teams when they look at him in his workouts or on the field compared  to other running backs.  That's because he is a tailback and that is a position best used in a two back set, a set used seldom by teams today. Andre also does not block very well at all which limits teams' view of him as a third down back.  His lack of bulk may be concerning to teams, wondering if he can stay on the field as an every down back.  I think most teams will look at Andre as a possible slot receiver and that might be his impact position for the next level. 

 

BOTTOM LINE

Andre reminds me a lot of Warrick Dunn (DTS - do the search).  He played and impacted for ten years in the NFL, but times have changed and the tailback position is out of style in the NFL, mostly because it requires a full back to take the pounding in front of it.  Andre has run out of the pistol offense as a one back and has remained relatively injury free because he is the type of player who rarely takes the full impact when he is tackled.  However, in the NFL, defensive players are bigger, faster, stronger.  Taking the pounding of a 16 game schedule as a running back is tough on players much bigger than Andre and teams have that in the back of their mind when evaluating him for the next level.  Andre would have to prove that he can take hits at the NFL level as a running back and the only way he can prove that is to start in the backfield, which probably won't happen unless a team is hit with a rash of injuries at the running back position.  That doesn't mean that Andre can't be an impact player.  He is smart and possesses excellent running back and receiver skills.  He is quick, has good speed and is smart enough that teams could move him all over their offense making him a match-up nightmare for opponents.  A coach just has to realize that Andre can impact in spite of his size.  In a spread offense, Andre will undoubtedly make an impact.  With his intangibles and remarkable quickness, Andre can impact in other offensive systems if you move him around and not stress his body out playing just one position.  Remember, Warrick Dunn played for TEN years as a running back and was considered an impact player for most of those years.  If you're going to run a multiple set offense, Andre is your man. 

 

Drew “ The B.S. Detector” Boylhart

Mar/2013