In the fourth round with the 106th selection the 49ers drafted their first receiver in the 2014 draft, South Carolina's Bruce Ellington. Ellington finished his senior year with 49 receptions for 775 yards and 8 touchdowns. Ellington is a receiver that can play out wide, in the slot, and has the ability to return punts. Ellington joins a crowded 49ers depth chart at wide receiver and should continue to improve with veterans such as Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, and Stevie Johnson as his teammates. After viewing film of Ellington I love his skill set and think the 49ers found a keeper and a sleeper in round four.
Name: Bruce Ellington
College: South Carolina
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 197 Lbs
Arm Length: 31"
Vertical: 39.5 inches
Broad Jump: 120"
40 Yard Dash: 4.45
Bench Reps: 15
Vertical threat: At 5’9" that’s hard to believe, but Ellington can win jump balls over taller corners; his 39.5 inch vertical is very impressive for a man his height. He's also played basketball at South Carolina, Bruce has hops.
Great hands that lead to great catches: Diving catches, off-balance snags, tip-toe sideline grabs: Ellington has the ability to make them all and turn heads in the process. I don’t know how many times he was one SportCenter’s Top 10 plays but I see some appearances on it in Ellington’s pro career.
Tackle-breaking ability and Elusiveness: Ellington has moves! He has quick stop-and-start speed which allows him to evade one defender and then quickly turn on the jets and break a low tackle by the next defender coming his way.
Smart route runner: Ellington has a good grasp of what his cushion is against a corner to make a play. He’ll know when to cut a route short, as well as when to make his cut on the pattern. This leads to some wide open plays.
Blocking: Exceptional blocker for a receiver. He fits the 49ers mold of blocking for the position, that being tenacious and strong.
Screen pass threat: Because of his sure hands and elusiveness, Ellington has done well in the slot catching screens Wes Welker style.
Height: Only 5'9" -- don't tell him that though. He's of the Steve Smith 5'9" variety.
Not a full route tree in college
Do Your Homework:
What They Are Saying:
- Niners Nation's David Neumann put together a film study of Ellington.
- Here's a video of Ellington making a nice sideline catch on a Colin Kaepernick throw.
- Steve Spurrier calls Ellington "sensational" and had other praises in this article.
- Colin Kaepernick says Ellington "has been amazing".
- Check out his stats on cfbstats.com.
Fooch's Note: This was written before word that Ellington was placed on the NFI list.
Ellington will have to fight with Quinton Patton for number-four receiver duties off the bat and will have an uphill battle seeing playing time in year one with a deep 49ers receiving corps. I expect the 49ers to try to get him in there in certain packages to utilize his skillset, which is wide-ranging. Ellington is a dynamic player and can do a lot of things for the 49ers offense. He brings an element of screen passing which the offense could use more of. Ellington has the ability to add that wrinkle a little more so than in years past and more effectively than the likes of the players that have come and gone such as Kyle Williams. When it comes to blocking Ellington is more than capable of being in there on running and option plays as well.
Immediately I was disappointed when the 49ers elected to draft a smaller receiver opposed to a taller option, but I grew to like Ellington quickly. He's a gritty receiver who plays smart and with passion, and it's evident after watching his game film. Crabtree, Boldin, and Johnson are ahead of him for now, but long term I view him as a solid number-two receiver and great option in the slot. It would not be a surprise to me if Ellington was a 49er for quite a while.