Player Profile: Dannell EllerbeDannell Ellerbe has come a long way from his days as an undrafted free agent at the University of Georgia. From Super Bowl Champion to one of this offseason’s most coveted free agents, Ellerbe has risen quickly among the NFL ranks and hopes to continue that climb with the Miami Dolphins.
Despite earning Second Team All-SEC honors at the University of Georgia, Ellerbe was thought of as an injury and off-the-field risk, and consequently went undrafted in 2009 following his senior season with the Bulldogs. He didn’t stay that way for long, however, as Ellerbe was signed by the Baltimore Ravens, a place where he had an immediate impact. In just his rookie season, he started three games, recorded 41 tackles and had one interception during the 2009 season.
Ellerbe made the Ravens’ roster again in 2010 and 2011, but as a backup, his production declined over the course of the next two seasons as his playing time was sparse.
One year can change everything, however, and 2012 was a pivotal season for Ellerbe. Heading into the season as a restricted free agent, the middle linebacker signed a one-year deal for just under $2 million. He proved to be worth every penny and more last season, recording a career-high 89 tackles and 4 ½ sacks. Ellerbe even further solidified himself with a solid offseason as well, making a pivotal interception in the AFC Championship game and helping to lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl title over the San Francisco 49ers.
Ellerbe undoubtedly thought he would stay with the Ravens following Ray Lewis’ retirement, but their lack of cap space left them out of play with the numbers Ellerbe was commanding as one of the top free agent linebackers on the market. When the Dolphins offered up a considerably greater amount of money than Baltimore, he took his talents to South Beach, where he is hoping to create his own legacy, much like Lewis did in Baltimore.
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