Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dolphins sign undrafted NT Louis Ellis

The Dolphins have officially announced nine undrafted rookie signings, and one player that had not previously been reported as Shaw defensive tackle Louis Ellis.

Background

Ellis (6-2, 320) dominated at little-known Shaw University for two seasons and was named Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association Defensive Player of the Year both years.

As a junior in 2007, Ellis recorded 75 tackles (50 solo), 24 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks and a forced fumble. During his 2008 season with the Bears, he added 73 tackles (36 solo), 24 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Analysis

Although Ellis comes from a small school and level of competition is a concern, he certainly seems to have talent on the football field and definitely has the bulk to be a 3-4 nose tackle.

Nose tackle also happens to be one of Miami's biggest needs, if not immediately then certainly in the near future. Jason Ferguson is still quite capable of starting , but the 34-year-old veteran isn't the long-term answer.

The Dolphins failed to address nose tackle in the 2009 NFL Draft, most notable passing on Western Ontario's Vaughn Martin and Stillman's Sammie Lee Hill in the fourth round in favor of Ohio State wide receiver Brandon Hartline.

In fact, Ellis is the only nose tackle added by Miami this offseason from anywhere, be it free agency, trade, the draft and undrafted free agency.

Although he's definitely a low-profile prospect, Ellis has a somewhat decent shot at earning a roster spot. (At least compared to some of the other undrafted rookies).

Third-year man Paul Soliai has repeatedly been in the staff's doghouse for off-the-field issues and has failed to live up to his potential. Meanwhile, 2008 practice-squad body Joe Cohen is a solid prospect, but has yet to show much in two pro seasons.

Ellis is certainly no lock to make the team, and may not even have a future at the professional level. Still, he's an intriguing prospect and could be someone the front office believes to be a real sleeper at the nose tackle position.