Last season, the New York Giants struggled to find a stalwart to place in the middle of their defensive line to face the run. They appeared to have found their man in the form of Kenrick Ellis, a four-year veteran with the Jets who signed a 1-year deal with the Giants this week.
Ellis is certainly not characterized as an undersized defensive tackle. At 6-foot-5 and 346 pounds, Ellis is a behemoth at the line of scrimmage. Furthermore, his game is predicated on his ability to absorb multiple defenders at the point of attack, remain sturdy at the line, and allow others to fill the gaps he creates in the running game.
Kenrick doesn’t have false illusions of his talents.
“I am a run-stopper and I like doing it,” Ellis said. “That is the strength of my game. I look forward to helping the Giants get back to their glory.”
The Giants were No. 30 (135.1) in rush yards allowed per game last season and 32nd (4.9) in yards allowed per attempt, while the Jets (Ellis’ former team) were 5th and 6th in those same categories respectively.
Ellis will slide into the Giants defensive-line rotation but he will need to work hard in order prove he belongs, something he’s grown quite accustomed to in the NFL.
“I worked hard and that’s the great equalizer,” admitted Ellis. “If you work hard, you can do anything. That’s what I did and eventually I became comfortable. After a couple of months, you realize these guys put on their pants just like me. I’m not going to lay down because you came from a big school. We’re here because we’re all good.”
Even prior to the onset of his NFL career Ellis faced obstacles in pursuit of his NFL dream. He faced legal troubles towards the twilight of his career at Hampton University that even threatened his standing as a United States Citizen. He refocused his career once he entered the NFL, and has been a model Samaritan in the New York community.
Evaluating the signing for the Giants is pretty simple in my humble opinion. Ellis is the type of hardhat and lunch pale player that lays the groundwork for a stingy defense. His selfless attitude should radiant amongst his peers, while also allowing him to fill a nose-tackle role the Giants desperately need. It’s a beneficial low-risk moderate reward signing that should boost a faltering run defense group from last season.