“Coach Harbaugh said if I didn’t get drafted, they would be interested. I was like, ‘That’s crazy. Then, I ended up not getting drafted,” said Dannell Ellerbe. He then went on to not get drafted in the 2009 draft.
Ellerbe signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent. He worked hard and made the 53 man roster in 2009. That season he finished with 55 tackels, one interception, a fumble recovery, and started three games.
Ellerbe’s sophomore campaign in the the NFL didn’t go as well. He was injured, a pulled hamstring, and didn’t condition as he should have. He regressed to only 17 tackles in nine games, and starting three of them. During his struggles the Ravens turned to Jameel McClain who had 83 tackles, one interception, and one sack.
Ellebre bounced back this season, a contract year, to put up his best career numbers. In 13 games he recorded 89 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. He proved he can be a three down linebacker. During the Ravens playoff run he has 23 tackles in three games.
Ellerbe is an unrestricted free agent after this season. With Ray Lewis retiring the Ravens will need to keep a strong linebacking corp. Ellerbe may demand a high pricetag, but isn’t someone that has learned form one of the all-time greats for four years worth the price? Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome speaks highly of Ellerbe,”I think with Ellerbe we saw that he could play a year ago when he got the opportunity. We knew Dannell Ellerbe could play. It was just a matter of him getting on the field.” High praise from the man that makes the roster moves for the Ravens. Ellerbe, McClain ,Upshaw and Suggs must fill the void left by Lewis. The Ravens will be fine and Ellebre can continue to grow into his own, and prove he deserved what ever contract he gets. By Steve Kish