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Bruce Ellington NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for 49ers WR

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 23:  Bruce Ellington #23 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina (HT: 5'9⅜", 197 lbs)

San Francisco 49ers (49ers trade 94th pick to Cleveland Browns for 106th and 180th picks)

Fourth Round: 106th Pick

Combine Weigh-In
HeightWeightArmHand
509319731"9 5/8"
NFL.com
Combine Workout
40-Yd Dash10-Yd SplitVerticalBroad3-ConeShuttle
4.451.6339.5"10'0"6.693.95
NFL.com

Positives

  • Well-built for his size.
  • Not afraid of contact and can fight through press coverage.
  • He seems to catch some defensive backs off-guard with this strength.
  • Shows impressive concentration when adjusting to poorly thrown balls and when tracking the ball through traffic.
  • Secures the ball quickly and is capable of taking a hit and hanging onto the ball.
  • A tough runner after the catch who isn't afraid of contact—looks more like a running back than a receiver after the catch.
  • Gives a strong effort as a blocker and was frequently used as a blocker when South Carolina would run a screen to another wide receiver from a trips formation.
  • Has experience returning kickoffs early in his college career.
  • Some experience carrying the football out of the backfield—17 rushing attempts as a freshman.
  • Relatively new to the wide receiver position, having played quarterback in high school.

 

Negatives

  • Lacks the elite speed and agility to make up his lack of size. 
  • Playmaking ability after the catch is average at best and well below what you would expect for an undersized receiver. 
  • Didn't drop many passes in college, but he does tend to catch with his body rather than his hands.
  • Route running is still developing—he has experience with only a small portion of the route tree, but there is very little complexity to his routes. 
  • Routes were essentially limited to the go route and screens and drags. 
  • Success on deep routes in college came from taking advantage of favorable matchups with his pure speed, but that's not an area where he'll be able to consistently succeed in the NFL.
  • Still developing his awareness on the field—runs himself into coverage sometimes when going against a zone defense.
  • For a receiver lacking both size and elite speed, he absolutely must learn how to set up defensive backs with subtle fakes to gain an extra step wherever possible. 
  • Lack of size and speed likely limit his role at the next level to playing in the slot.

 

Collegiate Statistics
YearSchoolRecYardsYds/RecTD
2011South Carolina1721112.41
2012South Carolina4060015.07
2013South Carolina4977515.88
espn.com

 

Personal Notes

  • Also played parts of four seasons with the South Carolina basketball team. 
  • Played basketball exclusively as a freshman, averaging 12.8 points in 30 minutes per game.
  • Played quarterback and returned kicks in high school.
  • Cousin of former Clemson running back Andre Ellington.

 

Ratings Chart

Chart created at nces.ed.gov

 

Overall

Ellington is a tough prospect to grade because he is only capable of filling a very specific role in an offense. He can be productive as essentially an extra running back lined up out wide, but not every team will be interested in what he brings to the table. His inconsistent route running skills severely limits his immediate value, and he should be viewed almost exclusively as a developmental prospect.

Any production he can bring to the table within the first year or two will be a bonus. It will be interesting to see if a team may consider drafting Ellington as a running back. Had he gone to just about any school other than South Carolina, where he was stuck behind Marcus Lattimore and Mike Davis, there's a good chance his skill set would have led a team to plug him in at running back.

 

Draft Projection: 4th round

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