New Orleans Saints: Can Sedrick Ellis Finally Live Up to the Hype?

William TruaxContributor IIIJuly 25, 2012

November 06, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) pours water over his head during warmups prior to kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE
Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE

In the 2008 NFL draft, the New Orleans Saints drafted Sedrick Ellis with the seventh overall pick. After many productive years at the University of Southern California, many people, especially the Saints, expected Ellis to come in and make an immediate impact.

Even though the USC product has not played badly in his first four seasons, his production has failed to live up to the lofty expectations that almost every top-10 pick is burdened with.

In his short career thus far, Ellis has accumulated 137 tackles (85 solo) and only 12.5 sacks. With the exception of his 2010 season, his numbers have been pretty pedestrian.

During the 2010 campaign, the 6’1” Chino HS product recorded 44 tackles (30 solo), six sacks, two pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Ellis’ other three seasons only saw him average 31 total tackles, two sacks and 3.6 pass deflections.

Although those numbers are not great, injuries in '08 and '09 caused him to miss nine games. Plus, the disappointing performance last season could be explained by the additions of Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rodgers, both of whom cut into Ellis’ time and numbers on the field. The two aforementioned players combined for 39 tackles on the season.

With all that being said, Steve Spagnuolo could be just what the doctor ordered for the former USC standout.

Under Greg Williams, Ellis failed to have a breakout year, but maybe with a new face leading the defense he can finally reach his true potential. Spags, like Williams, uses an aggressive 4-3 scheme that blitzes often, so the transition for Ellis will not be difficult.

Maybe Spagnuolo will be able to get the production from Ellis that Williams failed to during his coaching tenure with the Saints. If the previous statement comes to fruition, a Pro Bowl berth for Ellis would not be out of the question this season.

The Who Dat Nation has been waiting for a breakout year from the defensive tackle. Hopefully the waiting period is over and Ellis finally puts together a season worthy of being the seventh overall pick.