2008 NFL Draft, Vol. 4
With the 8th pick secured, all that is left is to speculate on what the Ravens, as well as the teams above them, will do based on off-season acquisitions and losses, needs at certain positions, and performance of the prospects at their pre-NFL Draft workouts. The most recent mock draft by Scouts, Inc. (subscription req’d), has the Ravens going with USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis at #8.
Draft Expert Todd McShay:
“Baltimore would like to use this pick to put an end to a seemingly endless pursuit for a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, there isn’t one worth selecting here with Ryan off the board. Instead, the Ravens could go with the best value on the board (Ellis) or fill a hole at either cornerback (Mike Jenkins) or left tackle (Ryan Clady). Knowing the Ravens’ draft-day discipline, Ellis will be the pick in this scenario.”
Ellis’ pre-senior season scouting report:
Strengths: A disruptive, penetrating interior defensive lineman. At his best in a one-gap scheme but has some versatility due to experience as a nose tackle and three-technique. He is extremely disruptive versus the run. Displays outstanding initial burst and wins most of his battles with first-step quickness. Uses long arms to keep separation and does an excellent job of disengaging from blocks and keeping on the move. Recognition skills are very good and he’s athletic enough to change directions and pursue once he penetrates the backfield. He consistently generates pressure as a pass rusher. Shows upper-echelon closing burst for his position and also does a good job of batting down passes once he realizes he’s not getting to the QB. Plays with a great motor and works very hard on and off the field. Never gives up on a play and his effort is infectious.
Weaknesses: Undersized; lacks ideal height and bulk. Not a good fit for schemes that require two-gap ability. Plays with a narrow base and will get overwhelmed by bigger blockers in the phone booth. He struggles to anchor when teams run at him and he really needs to be on the move in order to be successful. Durability has been somewhat of an issue; redshirted in 2003 due to injury that required surgery and missed three games in 2006 (Nebraska, Arizona and Washington State) due to right knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery.
Overall: Ellis arrived at USC in 2003 but received a medical redshirt after suffering a midseason left ankle fracture which required surgery. During his first three seasons (2004-’06) he saw action in 34 games making 86 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and nine sacks. Ellis missed some time in 2006 after having arthroscopic knee surgery. Ellis is a one-gap defensive tackle prospect that isn’t for everybody but can be effective in the right scheme (see: Colts, Buccaneers, Eagles, etc.). If ranks among the elite prospects at his position and can solidify a spot in Round 1 with a healthy and productive senior season.
And Ellis’ stats from his senior season at USC:
Tackles: 58 (29 Solo)
Tackles for Loss: 12.5
Passes Defensed: 7
With Kelly Gregg still having several productive years left, and Haloti Ngata coming into his own as one of the best DT’s in the NFL, this would be a puzzling pick on the surface. The Ravens’ base 4-3 fits Ellis’ 1-gap ability, but as just stated, we seem to have that position secured. However, even though the Ravens have had zero problem stopping the run with Ngata and Gregg up front, Ellis’ ability to generate pressure on the QB from the DT position is intriguing, as that is not something that the Ravens have been able to do lately. The scouting report also says he “gets overwhelmed by bigger blockers” (NFL O-lineman aren’t exactly small) and is a bit injury prone, so all things considered, this doesn’t seem to be the best fit for the Ravens. If Ozzie and Co. determine that Ellis is indeed the best player remaining on the board at #8, perhaps trading down with a team desperate for his services would be a wiser move.
What do you think, Nestgoers? Sedrick Ellis a good fit in B-More? Please, share your thoughts on this in the comments.
photo credit: Scout.com