Part two of my 2012 break out player series, focuses on our 3rd round pick last year, Kenrick Ellis. It's time for the big man to get some redemption. Ellis spent most of 2011 riding the pine, but I have a feeling, 2012 is going to be a whole different story. Come join me after the jump for more.
In 2011, Ellis never really got the chance to get a string of quality reps. Pouha and Wilkerson were the biggest constants on our D-line. Kenrick maxed out with 69 snaps, but he made the most of them. Against the Dolphins, he only played 18 snaps, and recorded 3 tackles. That might not seem that amazing, but all 3 of those tackles were either at the line of scrimmage or behind it. I think if he didn't injure his ankle, he would have gotten a lot more snaps, and would have made more impact plays. Ellis did struggle a little bit against the Redskins, but when you look at his season as a whole, he had more of a positive impact than a negative.
Pouha is a great run stuffer in the middle, but he is not made to constantly push the center into the QB. If Pouha is not brought back, it will be because the team wants to be more pass rush oriented. Pouha's price would be too much for a situational run stopper. This would give Ellis a prime opportunity to do what he was brought in to do. Our new D-line coach, Karl Dunbar, will find the perfect way to use Ellis, so that he is able to access his full potential. Like Wilkerson, Ellis will benefit from having a proper offseason. The status of Pouha will be the determining factor in what Ellis' role will be in 2012. When the dust clears, Kenrick should show visible signs of improvement. I'm not going to predict a huge jump in production, but it should be significantly more than this year.
2012 predictions: 20 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 5 QB Pressures, 9 Tackles For a Loss,