Chargers Prospect Analysis: D-Line, Part II

The Charges utilized Senior Bowl week to hold private meetings with the players, focusing in on defensive linemen. Jaime Cattano continues her five-part series exploring these prospects and evaluating which of them the Chargers are inclined to select.

One prospect to catch the eyes of Chargers scouts is DE Chris Ellis of Virginia Tech. The dynamic prospect enjoyed a private meeting with the Bolts coaching staff in Mobile, Ala.

Ellis upped the expectations of what the Chargers are looking for in a player, both on and off the field. He proved his high football IQ by picking up the defensive scheme implemented by the Oakland Raiders in a matter of days.

"The terminology has been the biggest thing because it's been the same plays but what you might call one thing, the [coaches] might call another," said Ellis from the Senior Bowl. "It's picking up the terminology and understanding it the first time and making adjustments on the go."

The sharp Hokie lured a number of scouts besides the Chargers. The pool of teams requesting meetings included the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys.

In 2007, Ellis (6'5", 267 pounds) was named first team All ACC team after posting 53 tackles and a team-high 8.5 sacks. He also added an interception, which he returned 5 yards for a score.

"I just try to stay around the ball, fly around and give them everything they're looking for," Ellis said.

Ellis started all 14 games at left defensive end in the Hokies' 2007 season. Known for his leadership and hustle, Ellis is still aware of his inadequacies.

"Strength has been the biggest issue with me, so just going out there and being aggressive and making the plays when they come is what I want to do," he said.

If Ellis is prepared to build up his frame and flourish, he could be a great addition to the Chargers. With NT Jamal Williams carrying the 3-4 defensive load, there is a dire need to alleviate some of this pressure.

Williams and fellow starter Luis Castillo both suffered ankle injuries this past season. As a result, Castillo was sidelined for six games. Starter DE Igor Olshansky is a durable force, but he's entering the final year of his contract.

The Chargers wonder if Ellis is ready to complement this trio.

"[I'm] a player who's willing to do anything for them," Ellis said. "I stay around the ball wherever the ball is, whether it's special teams or defense. Anything I can do to help the team, that's what I'm willing to do."

This zest might be the key to the Chargers defensive line. Ellis is a great asset on run support and, with his quickness and hustle, he is a hard player to ignore.


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