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How Justin Ellis Fits with the Oakland Raiders

Justin "Jelly" Ellis Will Help the Raiders Defensive Line
Justin "Jelly" Ellis Will Help the Raiders Defensive LineMichael Conroy/Associated Press
Elias TrejoSenior Analyst IIMay 10, 2014

The Oakland Raiders have added some beef, or "Jelly," by adding Justin Ellis with their first fourth-round pick. Oakland needed to get bigger and deeper along the defensive line, and they've done that by adding Ellis. Ellis is 6'1" and weighs over 330 pounds, and he's a stone wall at times along the defensive line.

What Ellis Brings to the Table


Strength and Size

Ellis is a big boy, and despite his shorter arms he is going to be hard to block. He does a good job of occupying blockers and has good lower body movement. His footwork is nice and he keeps pushing forward and has good quickness. He may not be able to keep it up for a full four quarters, but he won't be expected to as he'll be used in a rotation. He can be disruptive for the Raiders defense. 

He'll have to improve his pass-rushing skills to get on the field more, but right now he is an ideal defensive tackle the Raiders can use on a rotational basis. His biggest strength should be helping Oakland against the run because of his strength and size. 


Solid Depth

The Raiders were thin along the interior defensive line. Pat Sims, Stacy McGee and Antonio Smith figure to get the most playing time at defensive tackle. Adding Ellis provides the Raiders with a solid rotational player who can make an impact when he is in. He could eventually find himself getting extended playing time, but for now he should be coming off the bench. The Raiders' defensive line finally has some more youth.


Where Ellis Fits

Ellis should find himself on the field a lot in 2014. He's 20 pounds heavier than McGee or Sims, so he'll be one of Oakland's run stuffers. Because Ellis can create a push up the middle and can be a relentless rusher, he could find himself in on early downs. He has the ability to leap frog McGee on the depth, but it may take him some time. 

One thing Ellis does is make the Raiders' front seven more stout. The projected starting defensive line for the Raiders right now is Lamarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, Pat Sims and Justin Tuck. McGee or Ellis should find themselves fighting to be the next man up in this rotation. 


Rookie Expectations

I expect Ellis to get between 350-450 snaps in 2014. McGee played 354 snaps last season, but Ellis should get more snaps than McGee did last year. I don't see him in the starting line up, but he'll get in on short down situations to help plug the run. If he improves his stamina and learns how to effectively use hands he could find himself getting some more time on the early downs. 

He does have the ability to be a good pass rusher in the middle because of his motor and his size, but his short arms may be an issue. I see him having a more immediate impact in the run game because he can occupy blockers well and open up gaps for his linebacker. 

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