New Bears defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis never has lived up to his 2008 draft status as the seventh overall pick, although he scratched the surface in his first three years with the Saints.
But the past two years, Ellis' production dipped, in part, he believes, because the Saints got away from the attacking style of defense they previously played.
Eliis, who will be 28 next month, had a career season in 2010 with 44 tackles and 6 sacks, both personal bests. But in the past two seasons combined, he had just a half-sack, even though he started 31 games and had 65 tackles.
But the 6-foot-1, 307-pound USC product believes the Bears' scheme under coordinator Mel Tucker provides a better opportunity for him, which is why the unrestricted free agent signed a one-year deal Tuesday.
"Mainly it was because of the way I know their defensive line plays," Ellis said. "They allow their guys to do what defensive lines are supposed to do, and that's rush the passer and get sacks and put pressure on the quarterback while playing the run on the way. I'm excited to be a part of a scheme that entails that. I haven't had the chance to do that the last couple years, so I'm excited about that."
Ellis is expected to be the top player in a platoon behind starters Henry Melton at the three technique and Stephen Paea at nose tackle.
"I see myself more as a three; I think they do also," said Ellis, who didn't practice Wednesday but was an observer. "I could play both; I have played both in the past. So wherever they need me to play to help the team, that's what I'll do."
Prior to the addition of Ellis, the defensive-line depth consisted of three undrafted rookies and journeymen Nate Collins and Corey Irvin.
"He's a veteran player, (and) he's got versatility," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said of Ellis. "We feel like he can give us some stoutness inside and also give us some rush inside. So he'll have an opportunity to come in here and prove what he can do and compete. That's what we're looking for."
The Bears play the Saints at Soldier Field on Oct. 6, a game which will be special for Ellis.
"I think you know which games I circled on the calendar," he said.
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