BullDogs ~ 6015/333
Do you agree? I hope so, and propose to break them down into 2 simple Categories, so we know what we're taking about:
Grizzlies ~ Enormous and Powerful Defensive Tackles noted for taking up Multiple Blockers and dominating the Middle.
Wolves ~ Smaller and Athletic Defensive Tackles noted for penetrating the BackField and for their Range.
When evaluating all Defensive Tackles, these are the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the upper body strength in the world still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral Velocity, Acceleration, and above all: Fluidity or Core Agility. Core Agility is even more essential to sustained good Health ~ and to sustained good FootBall ~ than Core Power. The ability to react with Serpentine smoothness is a tremendous asset in all Aspects of the Game, and certainly in the Hand to Hand Combat that characterizes Trench Warfare. All the Power in the World goes only so far if you're stiff and lumbering out there.
Combat Skills. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
Power. Outstanding. Absolutely outstanding. Please note that I am fanatical about distinguishing between mere Size on the one hand and genuine Core Power on the other, and in fact strongly suspected that I'd find that Ellis, like many enormous men, lacked the latter. I was pleasantly surprised. Ellis in fact consistently exhibited exceptional Core Power. He consistently held stout against Double Teams, and repeatedly demolished single Blockers.
Agility. Stunning. First off, Ellis boasts terrific natural Fluidity. Mind you, that extra lard gets in the way at times and creates the illusion of stiffness, but he dropped 6 Pounds prior to the Shrine Game and another 9 before the Senior Bowl, resulting in a remarkable pair of Performances. His Lateral Agility is impressive, too, but what really stands out, above all, is his utterly phenomenal Launch Velocity off the Snap. For a man of his gargantuan Size to consistently blast out'f the Blocks with that much Speed and Power is simply astonishing.
Combat Skills. Raw!! He'll need a lot of work, here.
Intangibles. Exceptional. First off, he's got an awesome, unrelenting Motor, which, considering the excess Weight he usually carries around, astonished me. And his Field Vision and Command of the Tactical LandScape is outstanding.
I don't know where Justin Ellis gets off being this Agile at 350 Pounds or so, but Agile, he is.
But what really got my heart racing is that after reading a lot of accolades about Ellis's Agility at the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, I sat down to watch the Tape ~ praise you, DraftBreakDown & NoonKick!! ~ and discovered not only that every word of it was true, but that he marries that stunning Agility with sweet, brutal Core Power.
I am mindful of the Level of Competition I saw on Tape, but his dominating Performance at the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl against far stronger Competition obliterated any concerns I might've had on that count.
The Power and Agility I saw on Tape is real.
He is raw, to be sure, and the Weight he carried in College is of concern to me, both because it impedes his remarkable Agility and because it's a substantial threat to both his short term Health and his long term Health, most especially where his knees and back are concerned. But I am immensely encouraged by how aggressively he attacked his Weight both before the Shrine Game and then again before the Senior Bowl. I'd still like to see'm burn off another 10 Pounds or so, but the fact that he's already more than halfway there entire on'is own gives me considerable reason to believe that once he joins his future Team and gets with professional level Strength & Conditioning Coaches, he'll be fine.
What we have here, Ladies & Laddies, is a young Athlete who commands an astonishing profusion of Power and Agility for a man of his gargantuan Size and who, while technically raw, boasts extraordinary Field Vision and Instincts.
He has the Potential to become an absolutely dominant Run Defender as a Nose Tackle or a 3 Tech...But what is truly astonishing to say about a 350 Pounder ~ which I'm hoping is much more like 330 when all is said and done* ~ is that I saw the Potential for'm to become a persistently disruptive, destructive Force in the Pass Rush.
There is some Risk, here, mind you, and he's as Raw as they get...but his Potential is simply awesome.
And he brings it to the most crucial Position on the entire Defense.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
*He got there!!
Consensus Market Value