The New York Jets selected defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis (Hampton) with the 94th pick in the 2011 draft. Ellis, who comes in at 6’5, 340 pounds , should add some depth to the defensive line position for the Jets.
Pass rush: Might not put up huge sack numbers as quarterbacks will be aware of his presence inside. Shows good quickness off the ball in obvious passing situations. Can bull rush when single-blocked by extending his arms or swim over defenders reaching to engage him using quick hands. Uses long arms and big hands to cloud passing lanes but hasn’t actually tipped many passes (one in his first two seasons at Hampton). Keeps his eyes in the backfield while engaged by a blocker. Will go to the sideline to chase scrambling quarterbacks or get off blocks to follow screens. Wants to play finesse game, as if he’s a light and agile tackle, trying to spin or run around blockers, instead of overpowering and destroying blockers. Runs by mobile or pocket-savvy quarterbacks on his initial burst but does show hustle on secondary rush.
Run defense: Looks like a run-stuffer and can play the part, but surprises with his agility and foot quickness. Agile enough to move with blockers on zone plays; can disengage to prevent cutback lanes. Holds up double teams to eat space but can also penetrate into the backfield. Can push back two defenders when keeping his hips low and churning his feet. Good hustle for his size, especially when rested as part of a regular rotation. Chases down plays to the sideline, as well as from behind even if they go 15-20 yards downfield when rested (even in the fourth quarter); he is not credited with many stops in those situations, but is in position if his teammates can’t stop the ball. Spins off double-teams to grab ballcarriers coming through the hole or funnel toward linebackers. Has nimble feet to jump over fallen blockers but is susceptible to the cut block because of his height. Has difficulty regaining his balance. Runs past ballcarriers because he fails to break down quickly.
Explosion: Excellent upper-body build and girth. Has potential to show great strength off the snap to uncoil and uproot blockers. Not just a mammoth run-stopper, he lines up at the one- and three-technique positions to be explosive as a pass rusher. Average NFL first step, but it’s quick enough to pressure the pocket when focused on getting to the quarterback.
Strength: Man among boys at the FCS level due to his size and strength. Anchors against double-team, not moved backward easily. Rips off single blocks with strong hands and downward motion, though he will stand around when he tires. Holds off linemen with one shoulder when slanting and is able to spin in the opposite direction to make tackles. Will have more difficulty maintaining leverage against NFL interior linemen unless he sinks his hips to hold his ground consistently.
Tackling: Swallows running backs in the hole with great mass and length. Pure size and strength make him an explosive tackler that ballcarriers don’t want to feel hit them. Good change-of-direction agility with quick feet, but struggles to stay low and break down in space. Has some upfield burst. Can work against him in that he cannot stop his forward momentum when rushing up the field.
Intangibles: Dismissal from South Carolina for multiple rules violations is a major red flag, and his one-game suspension in 2010 also added to those worries. On-field effort is not an issue.
There are some major red flags with Ellis (pending jury trial for felony assault), but Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum repeatedly stated that the team did their due diligence on the player and that they feel comfortable with the pick.
Gang Green has 4 picks remaining: #126, #161, #184, #208. At some point you would think that the Jets would look to add some linebacking help, in addition to addressing the offensive line and secondary.