Prospect Comparison: Kenrick Ellis vs. Phil Taylor
Ellis is a 6'5 340 pound senior DT from Hampton (formerly of South Carolina). Taylor is more famous 6'5 340 pound DT from Baylor (formerly Penn State). They're two of my favorite prospects and I've followed them fairly closely.
This is where they're both fun. They were the #33 (Ellis) and #29 (Taylor) ranked DTs in the nation (http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&p=8&c=1&nid=1797286) coming out of HS. Both were 4 star recruits.
Both of them would go to big schools. Both of them would leave those big schools for smaller schools in smaller conferences. Taylor left and according to these guys, it got ugly. Ellis' transfer was similarly dumb, and both are so long ago that I don't really hold it against them.
Both stayed for their seasons. Taylor was second team All Big 12. Ellis made All MEAC. While Taylor is in the slightly better conference, the last great Baylor DT prospect was Ethan Kelly. I like Taylor more than Ethan Kelly, but Hampton has put a few DL in the league including Kendally Langford in '08. The Jets' DL prospect Dixon is from Hampton.
Taylor has the advantage of going to the Senior Bowl rather than the NFLPA game. The Senior Bowl is the most prominent postseason all star game in American football. Even then, if you check out Ellis' DraftScout page cited later you can see for their 2/8/11 update he was called the best player at the NFLPA game in San Antonio.
Edge: They're so similar but the school thing really gets to me. I just think South Carolina/Hampton is a better NFL path than Penn State/Baylor.
Size and Athleticism:
They're both a legit 336+. Ellis has a full inch on the arms, while Taylor has the slightly bigger hands and is shorter by a whole inch.
Both are considered guys who do alright in pursuit for 340 pounds, but Taylor's biggest plus is how well he moves given his size. Taylor has slimmed down and seems to be tapping into his athleticism.
Edge: Ellis has height and length while Taylor has superior speed and mobility. Call it a draw. I do think that Ellis tends to be more aggressive on the field, and that intuitively I think that it helps athleticism play up better moving forward. Guys like this are what combine is for.
Ellis has put up 30 TFL and 3.5 sacks in the past two years at Hampton. Also as a freshman for SC he had 3 TFL amongst his 11 tackles. Taylor has put up 9.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks.
Edge: Ellis. This is another reason why I don't hold the MEAC thing against him, because he properly dominates it as a player of his caliber should.
I lean Ellis. I really neg rep Taylor for the schools thing...I just don't like Penn State DL and I like Baylor DL just as much. I like Taylor's upside as a pure NT, but I don't see him doing it for a couple years. Ellis has outproduced him, is more polished, he's bigger, I think he's a little stronger, he's a better anchor...Being a natural anchor is an underrated aspect of being a legit 3-4 DL prospect and Ellis is one of those guys who can play with leverage.
Brightside player comparisons:
Kenrick Ellis - Bigger Darnell Dockett
Phil Taylor - Grady Jackson/Pat Williams/Kris Jenkins
Draft Future: Both have first round talent. Teams will have more questions about the makeup than I did. Workout numbers will help. I'd guess both end up going in the 2nd round maybe the early-mid 3rd.