The New England Patriots are hosting a former SEC basketball player on a pre-draft visit.
South Carolina slot receiver/point guard Bruce Ellington will visit the Patriots this week, FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo reported Monday. The Patriots held a private workout with Ellington earlier in the pre-draft process.
Ellington was the Gamecocks’ starting point guard for three seasons from 2010 to 2013 before quitting the team three games into the 2013-14 season to focus on pre-draft prep.
Ellington played three seasons of football for South Carolina. He had 49 receptions for 775 yards and eight touchdowns with three carries for 14 yards in 2013. He is projected as a second- or third-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL draft after running a 4.45-second 40-yard dash with a 6.69-second three-cone drill and 3.95-second short shuttle at the NFL scouting combine. The 5-foot-9, 197-pound receiver’s 39 1/2-inch vertical jump and 10 feet broad jump also impressed.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke during the 2013 NFL season about how converted basketball players typically have strong hands. Most college basketball players are converted to tight end in the NFL.
“They obviously handle the ball a lot and it’s on them quickly,” Belichick told the media in December. “They’re cutting and it’s a short pass and a lot of times it comes at good speed or bounce passes and trying to get it around the defender. They have to be able to react to the ball very quickly. It’s a lot different than football, seeing the ball travel however many yards to you. If you’re coming out of a cut, it’s still not like in basketball where the passes are, a lot of times, very short, very tight and you have to reach out and extend and get the ball away from the defender.”
Belichick also noted that most basketball players are quicker than fast. That obviously isn’t a problem for the speedy Ellington.