Thursday, March 26, 2009

Player Profile: USC S Kevin Ellison

Pros: Despite not having elite speed, Ellison was a big presence, when healthy, for maybe one of the best defenses in college football history. He is a big hitter and a very intelligent player. He played next to Taylor Mays who is a physically-gifted freak at 6’3, 230 pounds and was clocked in the 40 at 4.29 at USC’s spring drills. Mays is definitely the better athlete and NFL prospect, but Ellison matched him when it came to performance on the field. Ellison takes good angles and sticks to his responsibilities to make up for what he lacks in speed.

Cons: At USC he suffered a fractured left leg and three knee injuries that all required surgery. The wear and tear on his legs showed at the Combine when he ran a horrible time of 4.8 in the 40. That time is slow for a linebacker but unheard of for an NFL safety. He was never a big playmaker and had just five career interceptions. Often he would go for the knock out hit instead of the turnover. Sometimes he would shy away from attacking the ball, instead allowing the receiver to catch the pass in exchange for the easy tackle.

Scout’s Take: After playing safety in college, it looks like the 6’1, 227-pound Ellison will likely need to move to outside linebacker if he wants a shot of getting on an NFL field. If Ellison had the 4.5 speed scouts want from safeties, he would be a second or third round pick because of his size, intelligence and intimidating presence. Instead he will have to wait until late on day two to hear his name, if he is called at all. He will need to learn a new position so it will take time for him to get on the field as a defensive player. He will need to show potential as a linebacker and contribute on special teams early to have any shot at sticking on a roster. He better hope that his position change works out better than it did for fellow Trojan safety Darnell Bing.

Photo Credit: Long Photography