Andre Ellington Scouting Report

February 7th, 2013

Ellington has strong open field ability (Photo courtesy of orangeandwhite.com)

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF

Prospect: Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 197 lb.
Grade: 7.22 (Grading Scale)

Athleticism:
+Home run threat through big holes due to burst into the second level, but adds decent open field speed to go the distance
+Impressive plant-and-go quickness combined with acceleration to top speed
-Lean framed back with a clear lack of overall strength
+Ability to stay upright with balance very relevant in his game, likes to put his hand on the ground to maximize yardage when going down

Intelligence/Effort:
+Persistent runner with the mental toughness to stay patient when things aren’t going well
+Instinctive back with a natural feel for the position, should help ease scheme assimilation
+Understands his body type and makes up for deficiencies in size and power in other ways, keeps shoulders low and limits hits if possible

Pass Protection:
+Not a cop-out pass blocker who always wants to go low, will stick his nose in there against bigger pass rushers
+Fires hands well, far from passive
-Has trouble leveraging blockers gap-wise occasionally, can be developed through proper teaching

Route Runner:
+Has experience as a downfield route runner out of the backfield on slow developing pass plays and gadget plays
-Route complexity mostly elementary with plays lined up in a traditional wide receiver position few and far between

Hands and Carrying:
+Most fumbles seem to occur in open field, understands ball security in traffic and will cover it up well in those cases
+Hands for catching passes steadily improved during time at Clemson
+Lack of concentration led to alarmingly high number of drops as an underclassmen, all but eradicated as a senior
-Has some history of fumbling issues, a number of which popped out far too easily

Rushing:
+Smooth operator moving laterally down the line on zone concept running plays
+High foot frequency guy who is always ready to make a cut upfield and does so very decisively
+Gets through holes quickly as they open with proper anticipation
+Apt vision for a smaller back who likes to work between the tackles, really makes the most of his blockers
+Can get small and squeeze through very tight gaps on the inside, tough to track for linebackers
+Adequate toughness for carries between the tackles, can really take a pounding for a smaller back and not be affected greatly
-Lack of strength in lower half evident when tacklers go low, lacks the heavy leg drive to power through
-Hindered in short yardage situations by lack of size and power, plus a tendency to stop his feet on first contact and fail to generate drive
+Has some slippery elusiveness to him with ability to slide off of tacklers who use poor technique
+Freezes defenders in space well with hesitation moves and stutter steps with strong cuts
+Has shown ability to leap the pile quite effectively in goal line situations

Overall:
Andre Ellington will continue on the tradition of running backs drafted from Clemson in recent years, including Jamie Harper, James Davis, and C.J. Spiller. He’s not Spiller by any means as a prospect, but he’s far more polished than the other two. Ellington is above all an instinctive back with ability to hit the home run on occasion. Those long runs were far more frequent as a youngster, which may make teams wonder how he’s holding up through the wear and tear of 621 career carries for the Tigers. He suffered a minor hamstring injury on the first play of the game against Duke and didn’t return. To his credit, he didn’t miss a game on the year (though you could consider that game “missed”). Straight from the box scores, he missed a combined five games during his junior and sophomore campaigns. So there is some injury history, but Ellington shouldn’t and surely won’t be asked to carry a load in the NFL. That’s not to say he is only a third down back though, because that’s simply not true. He appears a perfect fit for a zone blocking heavy offense. He also has some experience as a kick returner and has a fitting skillset for the role. With natural athleticism, vision, and instincts it’s tough to believe Ellington lasts any longer than the third round.–Darren Page

Scouting Notes
Clemson vs. North Carolina State
• Picks out the cutback lane quickly on an outside zone, accelerates through the hole well before making a safety miss in space
• Catches checkdown pass on next play, freezes a linebacker in space with a stutter step and runs past him for extra yardage
• Left one on one with a blitzing linebacker, meets him early with hands fired, fans him out with moving feet
• Spins off a tackle on an inside draw and picks up a first down through traffic
• Up-ends a blitzing linebacker in pass protection, testament to low pad level and drive through the block
• Makes a perfect cut to the left on an inside draw, then reads his receiver’s block at the next level to bounce it outside
• Patient run after initial hole is plugged, decisively bounces it outside behind his lineman and into open field
• Uses an effective stiff arm and puts hand on the ground to keep balance at the second level
• Quick cut upfield on a swing pass to elude a defensive lineman, finishes run after catch falling forward
• Squeezes through tight holes between the tackles on multiple occasions
• Turns his back on short yardage plunge and stops his feet, unable to pick up first down
• Picks it up on next play, turns his back again but somehow keeps knees off the ground with sensational balance and leg drive
• Presses edge quickly and turns corner well to get into open field, unable to go the distance before being caught by a safety, play comes back for holding

Clemson vs. Boston College
• Solid return on opening kickoff, stays behind blocks despite left side opening up early
• Lunges at feet of blitzer in pass protection and makes no real contact
• Good patience to wait for blocks to develop when offensive lineman gets pushed back into his lap
• Puts his hand on the back of his pulling guard on third and short, good urgency for the situation
• Makes strong cut on an unblocked defender before slipping out of a linebacker’s tackle at the second level
• Redirects after a poor initial read, slips through a hole a gap to the inside and maintains balance despite poor footwork
• Flashes lateral agility to make first man miss at the point of attack with high foot frequency and unpredictability
• Leaps over the pile for a touchdown on the goal line, clears easily with high vertical
• Lunges out at linebacker in pass protection and whiffs instead of staying balanced and mirroring
• Slips out of tackle as a kick returner, doesn’t seem to have a 2nd gear to get to though
• Slides off the tackle of a linebacker in the hole before squeezing out the backside and off to the races up the sideline, long speed fails to finish though

Clemson vs. Florida State
• Instinctively follows a host of blockers on jailbreak screen, breaks into second level untouched
• Makes a strong cut from left to right behind a block bounces off a high hit to extend into the endzone for a touchdown
• Squeezes out of the ankle tackle of Bjoern Werner on a draw play, loses momentum to the point of attack and fails to get anything going
• Delays sideline route perfectly on a double pass trick play, makes safety miss after the catch with a sharp cut
• Loses footing trying to cut upfield on an inside counter play

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