The "Seahawks Sleepers" series is a flurry of quick scouting reports on some players that I've identified as potential targets for Seattle. My goal with this series is to highlight a few players that John Schneider, Pete Carroll and their scouting team might be interested in, and to give a brief synopsis as to why. For the most part, I'm high on the guys that I'll be pointing out - and I'll be monitoring them during the Draft and in Rookie Free Agency. Also, for the most part, these are mid- to later-round prospects, because let's be honest, you're probably sick of reading about first- and second-round type guys.
RB Andre Ellington, Clemson - 5'11, 200
Ellington isn't really a sleeper so the post title is a bit of a misnomer, as he is expected to go anywhere from the 3rd to 4th round. However, I'll list him as a sleeper because I think it might be a little bit of a surprise if Seattle is looking for a player of his ilk.
He's an explosive, shifty change of pace back and at 5'11, 200, he's a little bit smaller than I think the Seahawks are in the market for. I get the impression Seattle wants to stock their running back room with big, 225 pound bruisers - or, at least, they've shown an interest in these types thus far - so Ellington might not even be on the table. However, if the Seahawks are indeed looking for a lightning element to go with their Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin duo, there's just about no one in the Draft I want more than Andre Ellington.
When I watch the Clemson product play, the players that come to mind are Jamaal Charles and Golden Tate, and his running style is a combination of the two. Ellington runs with a smooth but explosive gait and when he plants his foot and runs downhill, his burst is apparent - this is the Jamaal Charles element - but when he runs into traffic, Ellington also shows a rare balance and escapability that is reminiscent of Golden Tate. The words I've used to describe Tate before are as a player that runs with "an internal gyroscope" - and I see this in Ellington. He has a knack for bouncing off tackle attempts and plays bigger than his 5'10, 199 pound frame would suggest.
Now, there have been those that question his breakaway speed and while I personally don't question that, it's something to keep in mind. I'd simply counter that argument with my thought that it's hard to find a guy that plays faster in short areas that Ellington shows on tape. He is ideal for a zone blocking scheme because of his ability to sneak through lanes and knife downfield. Further - if Seattle's looking to use him on third downs, his pass protection passes the sight test, or so say Mike Mayock:
Said Mayock, Pre-Combine: "The guy that really caught my eye - and I didn't expect to like him as much as I do - is Andre Ellington. One of the reasons I like him is because at 195 pounds, he might be the best effort pass protection running back in the draft - which really surprised me."
Mayock continues, "He squares people up, gets after them, and typically you don't see that from those 195 pounds, change-of-pace kind of back. So, Ellington, I've got him number three on my board at running back. I've got him higher than most people. Most people think he's a third rounder. I like him in the second round."
"He can catch a football. He's tougher than people think. He would protect [the quarterback]. He would give up his body to block for him."