CBS’ NFL Draft scout has Clemson running back Andre Ellington forecast as a 3rd or 4th round draft pick. While that’s right on the bubble of where draft picks go from having value to being pretty close to worthless, it will probably still be a wasted pick if an NFL team takes Ellington there. Ellington’s problem is that he doesn’t have anything that is in short supply in the NFL. He’s an average to below average sized back. His physical tests may be misleading because he’s been injured, but he hasn’t been performing off the charts on any of the drills. Perhaps proponents of Ellington’s might try to compare him to other smallish backs who have done well in the NFL, but Ellington’s production/measurables don’t match up. Ellington is probably the same size as Ray Rice, but Rice logged two separate 2,000 yards from scrimmage seasons as a college player. C.J. Spiller probably had the closest production to Ellington, but Spiller’s last season at Clemson also featured close to 1,000 return yards to go along with his 1500 yards from scrimmage. It’s worth noting that Spiller also ran a 40 yard dash in the 4.3s.
NFL teams should use their valuable draft picks to select players that have skillsets in short supply. Unfortunately, Ellington sits in that really fat part of the bell curve. If he were bigger, faster, or had more college production to show, then he might be more attractive for teams looking to spend their scarce draft resources.