POSITION: Defensive tackle.
MEASURABLES: 6-foot-1, 309, 5.26 in the 40 at the combine.
COLLEGE CAREER: Ellis was a three-year starter for the Trojans and claimed the Pat Tillman Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award, plus the Morris Trophy, given to the league's premier lineman.
PROJECTED AS: As a Top 10 pick and immediate starter. Scout.com's Tom Marino calls him the "safest bet" among the defensive tackles in this draft.
ARE THE SAINTS INTERESTED: The Saints need a physical presence inside to help bolster their run defense and ignite their sorry pass rush from a year ago. Ellis can do both.
DRAFT VALUE: Most mock drafts have Ellis off the board before the No. 10 selection the Saints possess. A mock draft at NFL.com two weeks ago had the Saints trading up to No. 7 to select Ellis.
SCOUT.COM'S TOM MARINO'S ANALYSIS: Ellis has outstanding quickness, body control, range and balance. Plays with good leverage, has extremely quick, strong hands and overall explosiveness. Can stack, but was more effective playing in the gap. Far better at nose then at a three-technique. Has short arms and does not appear to have long speed. Very disruptive player in a limited area, but he is not the second coming of Tommie Harris. Solid starter potential.
WHAT OTHER SERVICES ARE SAYING:
"Utterly dominant during Senior Bowl practices and the game, pressuring the quarterback and otherwise causing havoc on the line of scrimmage. Fell back to mere top ten consideration after achieving pedestrian Combine test results (relative to other top players): 5.26 40, 4.73 short shuttle, 7.78 three cone. Got back on track with 5.02 40, 36 reps at his pro day." The report went on to compare Ellis to La'Roi Glover and considered Ellis more of an under tackle than a nose. — NFLDraftscout.com
"Ellis is short, but he makes more plays than most defensive tackles. He blows up a ton of plays in backfield because of his quickness and explosiveness, and his energy and competitiveness rub off on teammates. Ellis will be productive in most 4-3 or 3-4 schemes. In a 4-3, he fits best as an "under tackle" on a team that uses a nose tackle. In a 3-4, he fits best at defensive end on a speed-based defense (Chargers, Cowboys) but does not fit in a power-based 3-4 (Browns, Patriots)." — Sportingnews.com War Room.
MATTHEW POSTINS' BOTTOM LINE: I talked to Ellis at the Senior Bowl and watched three of his practices and came away very impressed with not only his ability to defend but also his ability to adapt. He easily caught on the quickest of any of his teammates to the defensive scheme thrown his way. At times, he threw around offensive linemen. The only real criticism I can find on Ellis come from our own Tom Marino, who says Ellis lacks the speed to make plays outside the tackle box. But, really, how many tackles can do that in the NFL? Not many. No, you put Ellis on the gap between the guard and the center and you let him disrupt. It's what he does best. And he can do it against the run and the pass, a real asset for the Saints, who need help in both areas. I'm not sure he's worth trading up for, as in the aforementioned NFL.com mock draft scenario. The Saints have overall talent at the position, but Ellis is most certainly an upgrade over their current younger players. Plus, the veterans are aging. If Ellis drops to No. 10, I'd take him over anyone bound to be left on the board at that time. I just can't see the Saints passing on a player that should be selected in the draft's first hour.
You can read more of Matthew Postins' coverage of the New Orleans Saints at saintsinsider.com.