NFL Free Agency: New York Giants Sign Defensive Tackle Kenrick Ellis


NFL Free Agency: New York Giants Sign Former New York Jets’ Defensive Tackle Kenrick Ellis

The New York Giants continued to add some depth to their roster Wednesday night, as they signed defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis to a one-year contract. That name may sound familiar to some, as Ellis will be flipping green for blue as he was a member of the New York Jets.

Ellis was a member of the Jets for the first four seasons of his career, as he was their third round pick in 2011 out of Hampton. At 27 years of age, he falls right into the profile of the players the Giants have been targeting the last two seasons; relatively young, with something to prove and an opportunity presenting itself with the Giants to do so.

With the Jets, Ellis was a rotational player in their 3-4 front, never getting extended play. In his four seasons, Ellis has totaled only 53 combined tackles and one sack. Those numbers will not jump off the stat sheet, but as a rotational player in a unit that includes Pro Bowlers Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, stats will be hard to come by as Ellis role was just to stuff the middle and stop the run.

He will be asked to do much of the same with the Giants, but unlike with the Jets, he could have a starting role along Big Blue’s defensive line. Coming into the offseason, one of the priorities for the Giants was to add a run-stuffing defensive tackle to go alongside pass-rushing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Hankins is beginning to come into his own after two seasons with the Giants, as he registered seven sacks last season; the Giants just need a run stuffer to go next to him, and Ellis could potentially be that man.

Standing 6’4” and tipping the scales at 346 pounds, Ellis is a monstrous human being and will take up a lot of space. His sheer size alone should help the Giants in the run game, as a man that size just isn’t easy to move even for players as strong as offensive lineman. He could be a starter on first and second downs against the run, coming off the field when the Giants bring in a pass rushing lineup on third down or in obvious passing situations.

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Last season the Giants struggled mightily against the run, ranking 30th in rushing yards allowed per game at 135.1. They were ranked even worse in yards per carry, as opposing players routinely ripped off chunk yardage gains, averaging 4.9 yards every time they toted the rock.

Those are numbers in which the Giants need to improve upon if they are to turn things around in 2015. Signing Ellis is a start to improving their run defense, but he is not the final answer. There is still much work to be done along the defensive line, but Ellis’ signing is a step in the right direction as he adds depth and size to a position the Giants are lacking many options at right now.

Next: How have the Giants done so far this offseason?

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