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Kevin Ellison S/LB 6'1 227 USC 4.85

By: Robert Davis

A knee injury cut short Ellisonís freshman season after just six tackles and a pick. He came back strong as a sophomore though, finishing the year with 64 tackles, six for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a pick on the year. Ellison was placed on the All Pac 10 1st team with his performance as a junior, where he had 57 tackles, eight for loss, two sacks, and two interceptions. A knee injury ended Ellisonís season prematurely but in eight games he did managed to tally 48 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and an interception.

Strengths

Kevin Ellison is a football player, plain and simple. He is strong, tough, instinctive, and always battling to make plays. Ellison is great at moving forward and attacking the line of scrimmage from his strong safety position. He is a force against the run, and not afraid to throw his body around to make plays on the field. His instincts are his best trait, and he quickly reads the action and is always in the right place at the right time. Ellison has evolved into one of the leaders of the USC team despite entering the program as one if itís unheralded recruits.

Weaknesses

Ellison has the talent to play on Sundays, but there are some questions about just how good and where he may fit in the NFL. He is only an average athlete with average speed, so he has some trouble keeping up with receivers down the field in coverage. He is not the most flexible when he has to change directions and has to play catch up to the receiver. A move to a weakside linebacker spot could be a possibility, a position his brother Keith has played with the Buffalo Bills. There also may be some durability issues. Both his freshman and senior years ended prematurely to knee injuries.

Future

Ellison is a very good football player because of his intelligence. Many doubted his ability to play safety at the D1 level, and he did so and was a standout. After his combine performance, teams feel even stronger about him having to move to linebacker in the NFL. He ran the worst safety time among all participants at 4.85, and it was one of the slower times for linebackers as well. Those speed questions are going to hound him until he gets on to the field and can prove himself, but Ellison has a battle ahead. He should be a great special teamer, so that could find him a role in the NFL while he develops at either linebacker or safety.


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