Bruce Ellington   WR/ST   South Carolina

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Bruce is a clone of the Panthers Steve Smith. He plays bigger than his size because he understands his athletic talent and how to use it to his advantage on the field. He is stout, has good speed and quickness and excellent football intelligence. He can work inside or outside, but his best attribute is that he has excellent eye hand coordination to catch the ball and adjusts to the ball in the air to increase his catch radius and make the difficult catch. He has excellent lower body strength and in the red zone will use his body to get in between the ball and his opponent to make the tough catch. He has no problems catching the ball over the middle and is smart enough to understand how NOT to take the big hit. He is an excellent teammate and will give up his body to make a block. He runs excellent routes, changes gears with ease and is a patient runner with a smooth stride that is deceiving for a player his size. Bruce plays the game with a calm exterior that gives the impression that he might not be working that hard when in fact he is one of the hardest thinking and working players on the field. To be honest, I think Bruce could play any one of the skilled positions if he wanted to and play them all at a very high level, but he knows with his size that playing receiver is his best chance to get to the NFL. Smart kid.

CONCERNS
Bruce needs to learn to read defenses better so that he understands when to cut off his routes to help his quarterback out when teams are blitzing. I have no doubt he will acquire this talent also because of an excellent work ethic.

BOTTOM LINE
First of all, I donít expect Bruce to be selected in the first round in this draft. There are too many bigger receivers that are getting all the attention. Bruce is the type of player (because of his size) that are usually selected in the third or fourth rounds and in this draft Bruce might slide even further down, but believe me when I tell you, Bruce will impact and, in the future, could work his way into becoming a #1 receiver for the team that selects him. Steve Smith was drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2001 draft. They never thought he would be anything more than a special teams player and 4th receiver when most teams didnít even use 4 or 5 receiver sets. Steve returned kick offs and punts his first year for a combined yardage of 1795 and three touchdowns. By the 2003 Super Bowl year, Steve was the #1 WR with 1110 yds and 7 touchdowns, requiring opponents to double team to stop him. He still returned punts and kickoffs, but was more limited to just punt returns. Bruce Ellington has the chance to start his career off the same way and end his career the same way because he is smart, can catch a ball in a monsoon and is strong enough not to get pushed of his routes when he plays inside or outside. If youíre looking for the next Steve Smith, I suggest you look no further. Give Bruce a chance, draft him, put him on the field and let the magic begin. He will impact far more than most others in this draft and become a core player of your passing game with the ability to become THE player of your passing game. The fans are going to love this kid.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2014