Andre Ellington is a sixth-round selection for the Arizona Cardinals. Sixth round selections typically do not contribute right away, but the Arizona Cardinals 187th selection overall of Ellington could surprise us. Ellington has repeatedly shown his downhill speed in the ACC over the past three years.
It was not until 2011 that Ellington flourished at Clemson racking up 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, a 5.3 YPC average. That season Ellington earned second-team All-ACC honors while missing only one game because of injury. He did finish strong and showed promise heading into his senior year with 125 yards in the ACC Championship Game win over Virginia Tech and 116 yards on 10 carries during their blowout loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.
Ellington enters a new era of Arizona Cardinals football, new coaches, a franchise quarterback, a new general manager and even a new practice bubble opening in August. Ellington’s patience and ability to follow the pulling guard should lend itself to some productive games, and running behind Jonathan Cooper, the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft, won’t hurt.
I am not sure how many carries Ellington may get behind experienced NFL players like Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams, or fellow rookie, Stepfan Taylor. All of whom, I think will get the carries before Ellington does. Ellington should provide a spark as a change-of-pace back. Ellington will need to improve his pass protection skill set if he wants to stay on the field otherwise he will be watching from the sidelines.
Because I cannot predict how many carries Ellington will get, I will go with a modest 4 yards per carry (YPC) when he does see the field. After all that is the most important stat for a running back. Ellington will also wind up with 3-4 TDs, and I predict all of his touchdowns will be big plays of 20 yards or more. I envision that because I do not think Ellington will be on the field when they are inside the 20. At least not right away.
Make no mistake about it, though, Ellington and Taylor are the future of this Cardinals team. Taylor will be the every down back, and Ellington should be the change-of-pace back.