This is my final draft prospect article I'm going to do before the draft. Ellington is probably my favourite prospect for this draft. I love watching him play as he really reminds me of one of my favourite non-Chargers players, Arian Foster. Ellington is one of the few running backs to come out of the college ranks in the last few years that has a similar running style to Foster. Ellington ran for more than 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns over the last two years. He also has averaged 18 receptions and 160 yards over the last two years. Ellington helped to lead Clemson to a successful season in the ACC last year.
Ellington is a very quick and very talented athlete. Despite running a 4.61 40 at the combine he looks like a low 4.4 type of player on tape. During the combine he tweaked his hamstring which may explain his long time. Ellington is an explosive player and once he gets in to his stride will not be caught from behind. He is a tremendous fit as a zone runner. Easily the best zone fit in this draft. He has great vision and instincts. He waits behind blockers and has patience that is very good for a college Running Back. Ellington suits the zone running scheme because he has the speed and cutback ability to go either way. He can push around the outside of the blocker or cutback into the hole created by lateral zone blocking.
Ellington is truly a joy to watch. He regularly bursts through the hole with explosion and if he find a gap he can outrun college defenders and a lot of NFL players. Once he finds space Ellington is very very dangerous. I really can't describe how much fun it is to watch* Ellington running on stretch plays which is a trait that he shares with Foster. He looks so quick and has long strides that just eat up ground. As a receiver Ellington is talented. He has reliable hands and on screens is good at following his blockers and breaking free. Ellington is a breakaway threat that is not limited to any downs. His pass protection needs work but he is committed to it and just needs to increase his technical ability as a blocker.
Ellington's main negative is that to be an effective inside runner he needs to gain probably 10 lbs and try and improve his lower leg drive. Once he gets hit by a tackler Ellington tends to fall forward but doesn't break many tackles due to lack of leg power.
Obviously the Chargers backfield now has Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. But Ellington would be a wonderful addition to this backfield. Although it is not a need area Ellington will be a lead back in the NFL within a year in my opinion. He would add a level of dynamism to the backfield due to his breakaway potential, running and receiving skills. I think he is a much better runner than Woodhead or Mathews. It would be a surprise to me if the Chargers took a running back any higher than the 5th round but if Ellington is available in the 3rd he would be a great option.
*If you haven't seen him go on to YouTube or draftbreakdown.com to watch his highlights.