There was plenty expected of Sedrick Ellis as a former first round pick of the New Orleans Saints. His first three seasons were solid in “The Big Easy”, but his production quickly waned as the defensive philosophy shifted and he never really put up the numbers that were projected for a former top 10 pick. Signing with the Chicago Bears really is the former USC Trojan’s last shot to stick in the NFL.
Ellis was part of an atrocious defense in New Orleans that set the wrong kind of league records for ineptitude. The snowball just kept rolling downhill during his time with the Saints, but there is plenty of reason to believe that his new home with the Bears will be just what he needs to finally realize his potential.
In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Ellis commented on the Bears defense saying:
“They allow their guys to do what defensive linemen are supposed to do, and that’s rush the passer and get sacks and put pressure on the quarterback while playing the run on the way. I haven’t had the chance to do that the last couple of years, so I’m excited about that.”
That also certainly played a part in the Saints turning the page on Ellis in New Orleans with their new-look defense under Rob Ryan in a 3-4 alignment. Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is optimistic about his potential as a penetrating defensive tackle as he said:
“He can excel in a penetrating, up-the-field, attacking defense.”
That is exactly what Ellis thrived with during his time at USC and early in his Saints career. His climb to significant playing time won’t be easy in Chicago as the Bears boast a breakout player from a season ago in Henry Melton and a former second round pick in Stephen Paea who is also considered a bit of bust in his own right to this point. He should be able to find some snaps in a rotation inside which is exactly the type of role that will elicit the most out of his skill-set.
Optimism is a contagious thing, and Ellis has certainly caught the virus as he feels like this could be the turning point for his career. He said:
“A lot of times in the NFL it’s not only about how talented you are, but the scheme you play in, the coaches you have, things like that. It all plays together. Players have to match coaches and schemes.”
This is the best chance he has had in quite some time to feel like the defense around him fits well with his talents. Look for Ellis to stick with the Bears into the regular season and potential make a serious impact from the defensive tackle spot as a one-gap penetrator.