AFI Combine Watch: USC S Kevin Ellison

Because he played next to what will likely be a top five selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, USC S Kevin Ellison hasn't gotten the respect he deserves. Nevertheless, he's a player whose game is both cerebral and violent and he's ready to show the NFL scouts what he's got at the Combine in Indianapolis.

"I'm doing everything except the jumping," Ellison announced to the media throng in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. "I'm hoping to do my best, put my best foot forward and see what happens.Hopefully, I run fast and lift good. We'll see."

If you haven't been paying attention, then Ellison might just be popping onto your draft radar, but he's a prospect that NFL scouts have had their eyes on since his junior season.

Ellison's older brother, Keith Ellison, plays for the Buffalo Bills, so the bloodlines are there for Kevin to be a solid contributor to an NFL team and the younger Ellison had a chance to make his own path with USC instead of following his older sibling to Oregon State.

"At SC I had a good opportunity, to come in and play early and compete for a safety spot," Ellison recalled. "I wanted to play safety, and Oregon State wanted me as a linebacker. So it was a great opportunity to go play."

And play he did.

Ellison started at strong safety the past three years for arguably the most talent-laden team in the country and amassed 168 tackles, four interceptions, 19 passes defensed and four fumble recoveries while earning First Team All-Pac 10 honors in both his junior and senior seasons.

He admitted playing next to Taylor Mays helped him a great deal, but he said it also might hurt his draft stock a little as well.

"I think a lot of people labeled me because of the defense we played," Ellison said. "I've been in the box a lot because we had a free safety (Mays) and we kind of just played our positions.

"But I don't feel that I should just be an in-the-box safety. I feel like I can play deep middle and deep half. If you turn on the film and see some of the clips, you'll know what I'm talking about a little bit."

Ellison said he thinks he knows what everyone will be watching when he gets ready to work out.

"I think that's the biggest thing, running the 40," Ellison admitted. "A lot of people questioned it -- how fast I am. I'm not a super-fast guy, but I'm going to do my best out there and see what happens. Hopefully I'll get some good times."

When the Trojans took the field, Ellison was widely considered another coach on the field and he made sure the rest of the defense, not just the secondary, was lined up correctly.

With his instincts and knowledge of the game, his reputation of being only average in coverage is really what is holding him back.

He weighed in at 6-0.5 and 227 pounds and for a team needing a "Thumper" at safety, the Falcons will give him a long look later in the Draft if he's still available.

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