Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE
Shifty and small, Andre Ellington could prove a unique running back for a handful of NFL teams looking for a back in the early rounds of the 2013 NFL draft.
Andre Ellington's career with the Clemson Tigers might have started slowly — backing up C.J. Spiller as a redshirt freshman and receiving very little attention — but by the time Ellington completed his final season with the Tigers, he was Clemson's fourth-leading career rusher.
Third in Clemson history in rushing touchdowns, Ellington now turns his attention to the NFL, where he ranks among the top 10 in most pre-draft running back rankings. Ellington was one of only four ACC running backs to eclipse 1,000 yards in 2012, and he pushed past the 1,000-yard mark for a second straight season.
His performance at Clemson these last two seasons has garnered Ellington plenty of attention leading into the draft, and though he is somewhat undersized for his position, Ellington's speed and agility have him preparing to possibly be a second-round pick.
- Though he is undersized, Ellington doesn't show much fear when attacking the line in a single-back formation, and uses his speed and agility to dart through specifically small holes that otherwise would slow down larger backs.
- Similarly, Ellington has an ability to lower his pads and fight through tackles, but also has useful patience when running behind blockers and examining blocking schemes.
- Also a good returner and special teams player.
- Despite effort and drive, Ellington is still somewhat undersized and lacks the needed power to drive through NFL-sized defenders.
- Though agile in tight spots, Ellington struggles to fool would-be tacklers in space, and cuts and moves against open-field defenders are somewhat unpredictable and are not consistent.
NFL.com's draft profile lays Ellington's potential out clearly, saying his size is a factor, but his abilities make him well worth an early-round pick:
He has been productive and has shown toughness as an inside runner, but his size and limitations in pass protection will likely leave him as a rotational runner in the NFL. Space players with speed are at a major premium in the NFL, though, and he figures to go in the second round of the draft.
The National Football Post does have some concerns about Ellington's every-down abilities:
I do have concerns about him as an "every down" type back as he lacks ideal power inside, isn't as shifty as you would expect and tends to get tripped up easily through contact.
However, in more of a third down role where you can routinely get him the football in space and ask him to be that big play threat. Ellington certainly has the skill set to be the home run type X-factor for an NFL offense.
Ellington (@Dre23_LilBit) is enjoyably open on Twitter. Here's a sample Tweet:
I want to thank God for allowing me to celebrate a 24th bday! and its on Super Bowl Sunday. I truly believe I'm made for this game ✨