Clemson running back Andre Ellington was just too good of a value for the Arizona Cardinals to pass up in the sixth round of the NFL Draft.
Even with Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams already on the roster, and having drafted Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor in the prior round, general manager Steve Keim told CBSSports.com Ellington “was sticking out like a sore thumb” when they were on the clock.
So, the Cardinals pulled the trigger and selected a player who ran for 2,259 yards and 19 touchdowns over the last two years.
Ellington will slide in behind Mendenhall and Williams, but after that the pecking order is far from set.
“I’m going to come in there with the midset of trying to play early,” he told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Thursday. “But having those two guys be the leaders in the running back room, I can take a lot of thoughts and a lot of wisdom from those guys.”
And perhaps, playing time.
Neither Mendenhall nor Williams have been pillars of health in recent years, and each — like Ellington — are still looking to establish themselves.
For his part, Ellington believes he is the type of player who can serve as a change-of-pace back as well as a lead runner. He’s got good speed and quickness, but is a bit on the small side.
It’s one of the reasons he lasted until the sixth round, even though some thought he was a second-round talent.
“I realized I didn’t have the offseason that I needed and that I wanted,” he said, citing some minor injuries that affected his workouts for NFL teams. “I feel like that was something that made me slide a little in the draft.”
But he’s a Cardinal now, and he could not be happier.
“I can’t wait to get there and be able to compete,” he said. “I was always hearing good things about their organization.
“I’m very fortunate to be a part of it. Great city, great team — they always win games and I’m just excited to be a part of it.”