Finding the right fit

NFL Draft analyst Mike Detillier believes Andre Ellington's niche in the NFL could be similar to the one C.J. Spiller had for three years at Clemson.

In a recent interview with CUTigers, Detillier said that Ellington could have a productive career as complimentary rusher.

"This is a game of multiple running backs, running back by committee. Andre is a guy, if you've got a big back he could team up well as a speed guy," Detillier said. "If that's a thunder and lightning combination, he would be the lightning."

Ellington was pretty electric during his four-year Clemson career. He finished with 3,436 yards on 621 carries and 33 touchdowns, 59 receptions for 505 yards and two touchdowns and 642 yards on 26 kickoff returns and one score.

A two-time All-ACC pick, Ellington finished his career third in school history in rushing touchdowns, third in all-purpose yardage and fourth in rushing yardage.

"For a small guy, he runs pretty well between the tackles. He's fairly strong," Detillier said. "He catches the football well, certainly can help you out on special teams.

"He's a guy that's not going to be able to touch the football 15 to 20 times a game at the professional level."

That doesn't mean he thinks Ellington won't be successful.

"I like him a lot as a kind of change of pace back in the NFL, a guy that can come in and help you on third-down situations, in the return game, be the guy that can carry the football 7 to 10 times a game," Detillier said. "I want him touching it 13, 14, 15 times as a runner, receiver and as a return man."

Detillier sees Ellington could be a drafted late in the second round or early in the third, the two rounds that will take place on Friday night, starting at 6:30.

"Now, running backs are de-valued in the draft…Andre certainly falls into that category, very closely related with Giovani Bernard from North Carolina, and also Montee Ball. Montee is my number two guy. Giovani and Andre almost finished in a dead heat. Andre just beat him out by a point," Detillier said.

In regards to his future in the NFL, there is one glaring issue with Ellington that Clemson fans grew very familiar with over years.

"The big question mark is can he stay healthy at the next level…Clemson didn't use him heavy, but he got a little bit nicked up there," Detillier said. "I think that's the big question mark -- lack of great size and, also, health issues."

When healthy, Ellington showed that he was one of the most explosive rushers in college football. And that's why he'll be such an intriguing option for many NFL teams this weekend.

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