How much Kenrick Ellis will be able to contribute to the Jets immediately will first be decided in the court room. Ellis faces up to 20 years in prison on an assault charge over an alleged incident on campus where he allegedly punched a man who was coming after him and his girlfriend with a baseball bat in the face, breaking his jaw. We have already gone over on GGN the reasons this is not as daunting as it appears on paper. It starts with the allegation indicating Ellis acted in self-defense. One source told a Jets writer it will never get to trial. The team also has an extensive background check, very successful in the past on alleged character risks, which leads one to believe the team would not waste a third round pick on a guy with anything other than a very small chance of going to prison. On top of this, remember that Ellis has no prior convictions, which means a judge probably would not come anywhere near sentencing the maximum even if Ellis was convicted. The 20 year maximum looks scary, but it is probably not realistic.
If Ellis is with the Jets, he will get a chance to contribute right away in some role. He figures to be Sione Pouha's primary backup at nose tackle right away, spelling the big guy when he needs it. He also could see time as part of a rotation at 3-4 defensive end. When the Jets play against good running teams, Ellis and Pouha might play together at tackle in 4-3 looks to get over 650 pounds of meat up the middle.
If Shaun Ellis is not back, Kenrick might even get a chance to compete for a starting job at end in the 3-4 against fellow rookie Muhammad Wilkerson. It is not easy for most rookies to start on the defensive line, but Ellis has exceptional physical gifts and might be able to do the job.
Over the long haul, Ellis' job will be to replace Sione Pouha, who is on the wrong side of 30, as nose tackle. He has a chance to become the next Kris Jenkins. Not many guys have a combination of size, quickness, strength, and athleticism. He could potentially become a dominant nose tackle.