The NFL offseason is continuing to crawl along after the 2020 NFL Draft took place last month. The Cleveland Browns were very active in the draft, selecting seven new players. With their first pick in the third round of the NFL Draft, the Browns drafted interior defensive lineman Jordan Elliott of Missouri. Elliott started his college career at Texas, but he transferred to Missouri after his freshman season. He played two years at Missouri, including starting 12 games during his junior season last year. He posted 44 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. So, what can the Browns expect from their newest interior defensive lineman? In today’s film room, I take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Jordan Elliott’s game.
Elliott has strong, powerful, and active hands. He can unload heavy punches into blockers, stunning them at the point of attack. He also keeps them active, fighting to get away from blocks to penetrate into the backfield. He uses an array of hand moves to win reps. He uses good arm extension to make sure he fully utilizes his strong hands. His hands help him stay clean from blockers’ grasps. Here are some examples of his great hands.
In the first play versus South Carolina, Elliott fires off the snap and jabs his hands in the chest of the offensive tackle. He uses good arm extension to keep the blocker away from him. Elliott then sees the runner coming and swipes the blocker away with his powerful hands to get free and make the tackle. In the second play against South Carolina, Elliott comes off the line and lands his strong hands into the chest of the left guard, using great arm extension. He is able to push the guard back, forcing the runner to have to avoid tripping over the guard. Elliott controls the blocker throughout using his hands and his play forces a hitch in the run play that ends up not being successful. In the final play versus Tennessee, Elliott pulls a nice pull rip move. His strong hands allow him to fling the center off balance and get free to penetrate into the backfield for a run stop.
Elliott’s quickness may be his best asset. He is unbelievably quick in his first few steps off the line. He can easily make blockers whiff using his quickness. He can beat blockers to a spot, giving him the opportunity to slip through cracks in the line. He pairs his good hands with this quickness to pull off very smooth and elusive moves against blockers. He is a tough man to stay in front of because of this quickness. Here are some examples of his quickness.
In the first play against South Carolina, Elliott shows off his quickness in a great swim move. He is able to quickly sidestep the blocker’s reach and swim over him to pressure the quarterback. In the second play versus South Carolina, Elliott comes off the line of scrimmage to lay a heavy punch on the left guard. With the left guard off balance, Elliott changes direction multiple times to leave the blocker flailing at air and allowing Elliott to get free to get the sack. For the final play against Ole Miss Elliott shows off his quickness in a couple of ways. He first does a quick shake move against the left guard, which causes the blocker to miss him and allows Elliott to penetrate into the backfield. His quickness also shows up when he quickly gets to the pulling blocker before the blocker can lead the runner around the edge. Elliott’s quickness extends the edge the runner has to get around, eventually leading to a stop of no gain.
Overall, Elliott is a really good athlete. As I pointed out earlier, he possesses great quickness. But, he also shows good agility and athleticism to move around the field. He can get thin and turn his body quickly to slip through cracks in the line. He can smoothly and quickly move down the line to chase down ball carriers. He has a good change of direction skills for a man his size. He can move better than most players his size. Here are some examples of his movement skills
In the first play versus Ole Miss, Elliott shows off his impressive movement skills for a man his size. Ole Miss runs a misdirection handoff to a receiver. Elliott is able to quickly change direction when the receiver starts to head the other direction. The defensive lineman ends up tracking the receiver and making the tackle from behind. In the second play against Tennessee, Elliott displays his excellent movement skills. At the line of scrimmage, the defensive lineman puts a nice show using his lateral change of direction to stay clean from the grasps of the blocker. He then demonstrates his burst when he sees a lane and closes on the quarterback for the sack. In the final play versus South Carolina, Elliott is able to tort his body to swim between blockers and penetrate into the backfield. To finish the play off, he is able to track the quarterback across the field including changing directions with relative ease.
Elliott is a strong and powerful man. His hands are the instrument that unloads the strength and power into blockers. He easily can stay stout at the point of attack. He can stack and shed blockers with his strength. It is not often when he gets pushed back by a single offensive lineman. His bull rush is a tool in his pass rush arsenal because of his power. Here are some examples of his power and strength.
In the first play against South Carolina, Elliott unloads a heavy jab on the center after the snap. He is able to drive the center into the backfield where he can be in a position to disrupt the run play. For the second play versus Ole Miss, Elliott shows his ability to stand stout at the point of attack. He is able to stand his ground versus the blocker and then get free when the runner nears to get the run stop. In the final play against Tennessee, Elliott is able to toss the blocker out of the way to get free to pressure the quarterback.
Elliott has shown the propensity to struggle versus double teams. He oftentimes tries to beat them with quickness or his movement skills, but that leads him to be out of position and in an easy position to be shoved out of the way. He does not really show the desire to just eat up both blockers. He tries to get away rather than occupying them with his strength to open up opportunities for his teammates. Here are some examples of his struggles versus double teams.
In the first play versus Tennessee, Elliott is faced with a double team in this run play. Elliott is turned sideways and out of position by the double team, driving the defensive lineman out of the way. In the second play against Tennessee, Elliott is once again met at the start of the play by a double team. Rather than trying to stay stout and occupy the double team to clog the running lane, Elliott tries to turn his body and slip the blocks. But, this attempt ends up causing him to get pushed out of the way for a lane to form for the runner to run through with ease. In the final play versus South Carolina, Elliott is again met with a double team in this run play. And, he deals with the double team in a similar fashion to the previous two plays. He tries to slip between the two blocks, but he ends up being pushed to the ground and out of the play.
Elliott can definitely approve on his attention to details. This can come with more experience, which he does not have given that he was only a full-time starter for one season. His snap reaction is very inconsistent. He can be so slow at the snap, causing him to lose advantage against the blocker. If he can shore this up, with the quickness he possesses, he can be even more dangerous. He also can get too worried about penetrating the line of scrimmage and just lose focus on his responsibility in the play. He can get out of position and allow things to happen where he was supposed to be. And, at times, he can get too stagnant on blocks. He will just try to bull rush rather trying different moves or hand usage to get free. Here are some examples of his sporadic lack of attention to detail.
In the first play versus South Carolina, Elliott is the last one on the line for both teams to respond to the snap. He is late getting out of his stance, putting him at a disadvantage from the start. In the second play against Tennessee, Elliott loses his gap responsibility because he tries to penetrate the line. He turns his body to try and slip through the line, but this just allows the blocker to more easily push Elliott out of the way, and out of the gap he was lined up to defend in the run play. In the final play versus Ole Miss, Elliott gets a little lethargic in his pass rush. He tries to just bully his way to the quarterback with a couple of jabs, but he gains little ground. Elliott does not try to counter his initial move, leading to a poor pass rush attempt.