Originally published on Silver & Black Report on May 10, 2014
Nose tackle Justin Ellis spoke with the media shortly after being drafted by the Oakland Raiders 107th overall.
You can read the transcript below, as well as hear the audio.
Q: Did you have any notion that the Raiders would select you leading up to the draft?
Ellis: “Me and [defensive line] coach Terrell [Williams], when we first met, we hit it off pretty good. He kept saying how much he liked me and I had a lot of interest from their program, so I did [have an idea] of them picking me.”
Q: Did you come out for a visit, or did they go to your pro? When did you talk to him?
Ellis: “They came out to my pro day and we just kept in contact since my pro day and stuff. Some before the pro day, I met him at the Senior Bowl and stuff too.”
Q: How much do you think your performance in the East-West Shrine Game helped your draft stock?
Ellis: “It helped me a lot. That’s one of the reasons why I think my draft stock moved up and it’s a blessing.”
Q: It seemed like your pro day went well too. All of the stuff since the end of your season elevated your stock. Did you find new and different ways to work out? Did you get in better shape than you had been?
Ellis: “Yes, I’ve always been a hard worker. As far as my weight, I did try to make sure I stayed consistent, just so the teams would know that I’m not just a guy that’s going to swell up on them. But other than that, I just work like I’ve been doing all my life. It’s just worth it that it paid off.”
Q: What would you say your biggest strengths are as a player?
Ellis: “My power and explosiveness, my quickness off the ball.”
Q: Do you feel that you can play nose guard, three-technique lineman? What are your thoughts on your position?
Ellis: “I’m most definitely an inside guy, but I can play anywhere from the nose to the three-technique. Anything they want from me, I can play.”
Q: The Raiders have made a big deal about drafting guys that are really serious about playing football, they love football, and don’t have a lot of drama in their lives off the field. Does that sum you up?
Ellis: “Yes, sir. That’s me most definitely.”
Q: Are there NFL defensive tackles who you tried to pattern yourself after?
Ellis: “Growing up, Warren Sapp was my idol. He was the person I looked up to, as far as football. Lately, the last couple of years it has been Vince Wilfork. He’s grown on me a lot. I like the way he plays the game and I kind of model my game after him.”
Q: Tell us about what brought you to Louisiana Tech after high school.
Ellis: “They recruited me well. I thought Coach [Derek] Dooley coached a great program. It was a building process and I wanted to be a part of it. They recruited me well and my mom liked them. I had a good feeling about it. If I trust you, I’ll most likely go with you.”
Q: How appealing is it to come to a place where you’ll get to work with guys like Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley?
Ellis: “I’m honored to be able to work with those guys. Justin Tuck is another guy that I think is a good defensive tackle, D-lineman, period. LaMarr Woodley, all those guys, I think they are great professional athletes. I’m happy to be a part of the Oakland Raiders.”
Q: Most big guys wouldn’t embrace the nickname ‘Jelly’, so how do you like it?
Ellis: “Yes, sir. My high school coach, my defensive coordinator my freshman year, David Taylor, he said ‘I’m going to call you Jelly Bean’ and that stuck to me. Everybody calls me Jelly and I don’t have any problems with it. That’s my name now. I embrace it.”
Q: How would you describe your weight issues?
Ellis: “It has been a grind. I’m a big guy, naturally, and I gain weight easily. But, I also lose weight easily, too, so my weight fluctuates. At the same time, it’s been a grind but it’s something I can do. I haven’t lost control of it. I have gained weight, but I also lose it.”
Q: What’s your weight at now? What do you think, ideally, it should be for the NFL?
Ellis: “Right around 346, 347. Maybe 330.”