Elijah Sullivan, LB, Kansas State – NFL Draft Player Profile

    Elijah Sullivan, LB, Kansas State – NFL Draft Player Profile

    Last year was the first time since 1993 that the Kansas State Wildcats failed to have at least one player drafted to the NFL. Can Kansas State linebacker Elijah Sullivan ensure that drought isn’t extended to two years in the 2021 NFL Draft?

    Elijah Sullivan NFL Draft Player Profile

    • Position: Linebacker
    • School: Kansas State
    • Current Year: Sixth-year Senior
    • Height: 6’0″
    • Weight: 212 pounds

    Tony Pauline’s Elijah Sullivan Scouting Report

    Positives: Safety-sized linebacker who started the past two seasons at Kansas State. Plays heads-up football, remains disciplined with assignments, and is explosive moving in any direction. Fires up the field to fill gaps in run defense, takes good angles to the action, and shows a lot of range, going sideline to sideline. Flashes on the scene displaying suddenness and sells out defending the run. Possesses good hands for the interception.

    Negatives: Undersized and easily knocked from the action by a single blocker or out-positioned from plays altogether. Plays to one speed and isn’t fast enough to move the safety.

    Analysis: Sullivan was a hard-charging linebacker at Kansas State and was fun to watch on film, as he sold out on every snap. He’s a run-and-chase linebacker with limited appeal due to his size, but Sullivan should stand out as a one-gap defender and on coverage units.

    Elijah Sullivan Player Profile

    The three-star recruit out of Tucker High School in Georgia had a wild recruiting ride. Ranked as the 30th outside linebacker in the class, he earned early attention from a number of SEC schools. One of his first offers came from Florida in February 2014, but Sullivan opted instead to commit to Auburn shortly after and appeared set ahead of his senior season.

    Sullivan earned an honorable All-State mention as a senior as Tucker advanced to the state playoffs following a 10-3 season. At the conclusion of the campaign, the presumption was that he would enroll at Auburn and begin his college career as a Tiger.

    However, just prior to National Signing Day, the linebacker flipped his commitment to Kansas State. Although confusing at the time, it became apparent that Auburn had wanted him to grayshirt, which would have meant delaying the start of his college career.

    Sullivan’s college football career at Kansas State

    As it transpired, Sullivan wouldn’t see the field in 2015 anyway. The linebacker redshirted his first season for Kansas State. Ultimately, he wouldn’t see any significant time on defense for his first four years for the Wildcats.

    Having redshirted his freshman season, Sullivan carved out a role on special teams. He continued to excel in that phase of the game through his sophomore season in 2017 too. However, he earned two starts — against Vanderbilt and UCLA — and secured his first career sack against Kansas. Meanwhile, 2 forced fumbles demonstrated his ability to create turnovers.

    Primed to break out in 2018, Sullivan played in the first three games, putting up 5 tackles against West Virginia. Unfortunately, an ACL tear would require surgery, and the Kansas State linebacker would miss the rest of the season. Thankfully, the NCAA granted him a medical waiver allowing him another two years of eligibility.

    Fully recovered by the start of 2019, Sullivan grasped the opportunity with both hands. Making 13 starts at the heart of the Wildcats’ defense, he led the team with 65 tackles. Demonstrating all-around ability, Sullivan contributed 5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, an interception, and 4 pass breakups. He also played a starring role in a shocking win over Oklahoma.

    His play in the Liberty Bowl earned him the Kansas State MVP, and he added more accolades in his senior season with an All-Big 12 honorable mention. Despite playing just eight games, Sullivan logged 40 tackles in 2020 before declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Elijah Sullivan’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft

    As PFN’s Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline alludes to in his scouting report, Sullivan lacks the size of a traditional NFL linebacker while also not having the speed to take on a Jeremy Chinn/Isaiah Simmons hybrid-style role. He does, however, bring an incredible work ethic against the run and valuable experience on special teams.

    Although he is more likely to land on a roster as an undrafted free agent, Sullivan may sneak into the back-end of the 2021 NFL Draft. Some team fits based on his scheme experience include the Las Vegas Raiders, Detroit Lions, and Kansas City Chiefs.

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    Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.

    Oliver Hodgkinson is a College Football and NFL Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson

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