San Francisco may have made one of the biggest steals so far in the NFL Draft. The 49ers picked up South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington in the fourth round after the former Gamecock earned a first-round grade from ESPN's Mel Kiper. The selection reunites Ellington with former teammate Marcus Lattimore.
Bruce Ellington's transformation from a point guard to an NFL Draft pick has to be the first item on the resume of South Carolina wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier, Jr. Ellington came to Columbia in 2010 as a highly-touted basketball prospect from Moncks Corner, S.C. and didn't join the football team until 2011. It wasn't until 2012 that Bruce was fully incorporated into the receiving corps; in his first season transitioning from the basketball court to the gridiron, Ellington was mainly utilized as a running back, taking direct snaps in the wildcat formation.
Ellington took a big step forward as a pass-catcher in 2012 (40 catches, 600 yard, seven touchdowns) and became the Gamecocks' go-to receiver in 2013 (49 catches, 775 yards, eight touchdowns), coming up with extremely difficult catches in important moments during the six-game winning streak that closed out South Carolina's season.
At 5'9, Ellington doesn't have ideal height for a wide receiver and will never be a player who can just go up and get a pass, he's able to get open by creating separation at the line of scrimmage. While not a burner by any means, Ellington displays excellent short-area quickness and excels at at making adjustments to the ball.
Bruce also served as South Carolina's kickoff returner during his sophomore and junior campaigns. While he didn't break off many big runs, the Gamecocks' struggles in the return game predate Ellington and will likely continue long after he has gone.
Ellington's greatest asset, though, might be his makeup. The Gamecocks' two-sport star was the the hardest-working athlete to come through South Carolina since legendary workout fiend -- and new teammate -- Marcus Lattimore. Even while splitting time between two sports, South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin would rave about how Bruce would haunt the doorway of his office, always dropping by to ask questions about the playbook even when he was on leave from the basketball team to play football.
Weight: 197 lbs
Hand size: 9 5/8"
40-yard dash: 4.45
Broad jump: 120"
Vertical jump 39.5"
Wide receiver was a position of need for San Francisco entering the draft, and so far Elllington is the only wideout that the 49ers have selected.