CLEVELAND – Thanks to ESPN draft analyst, Mel Kiper Jr., former South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington is now on the collective radar of Cleveland Browns fans everywhere.
Kiper Jr along with long-time draft expert, Todd McShay hosted a special hour-long segment in which both alternated picks with Kiper picking even numbers and McShay odd numbers in the the role of general manager.
After mocking Johnny Manziel to Cleveland at No.4, Kiper Jr—channeling Browns general manager, Ray Farmer—selected the 5’9, 196-pound speedster.
Ellington, one of the fastest risers in the NFL Draft, thanks to an impressive combine in which he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard ash, 3.95 in the pro agility shuttle and a 39.5 vertical, could be a late first-round gem for the Browns.
But the universal question among many in the Dawg Pound is, who is he exactly?
A two-sport star in both basketball and wide receiver, Ellington caught 49 passes for a team-leading 775 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013-14. In perhaps his breakout game, Ellington caught six passes for a season-high 140 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-24 win over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day.
While he is no Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or even Odell Beckham Jr, Ellington may be exactly what the Browns need, a solid and dependable number two wide receiver across from Josh Gordon. Thanks to his speed, slight build and frame, Ellington has drawn comparisons to both Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown and former Steeler—and now Denver Broncos wide receiver—Emmanuel Sanders, whom the Browns were once linked to in free agency.
In Ellington, Cleveland would have a speedy and reliable target for Brian Hoyer—or Manziel—to throw to, and thanks to his speed, would prevent teams from doubling Gordon downfield allowing Cleveland to attack defenses vertically. Also keep in mind that newly-signed Nate Burleson is signed to a one-year deal, drop-prone Greg Little possibly on the outs, Andrew Hawkins a threat out of the slot, and the Browns lack a long-term number two wideout.
While other projected No.2 wideouts such as Davante Adams, Cody Matimer, Jordan Matthews and Allen Robinson have garnered more attention, Ellington could be the sneaky pick that gives Cleveland what they need the most in both speed, good hands and a vertical and speedy threat capable of making big plays on his own.
While no one may now his name now in Northeast Ohio, thanks to his intangibles and versatility, Browns fans shouldn’t be too shocked to hear his name called late Thursday evening.
Robert D. Cobb Is the CEO/Founder/Senior Editor-In-Chief of the InscriberMag : Digital Magazine and a member of the PFWA(Pro Football Writers Association), please follow him on Twitter at @RC_TheInscriberMag