Ellerbe spent most of his first two seasons with the Bulldogs as a reserve linebacker. In both seasons combined, he had 22 tackles, three for loss, two sacks and an interception. He finally got his chance to shine as a junior and he delivered in a big way. He finished the year with 93 tackles, 12 for loss, 4.5 sacks, and a pick on his way to All SEC honors. A knee injury limited Ellerbe as a senior, causing him to miss three games and limit him in others. His disappointing stat line for the year included 29 tackles, five for loss, a sack and a pick.
Ellerbe is a versatile linebacker that has played all three linebacker spots for the Dogs during his career. That versatility should carry over to the NFL, where he potentially has the ability to be a standout at weakside or middle linebacker. He has a thick build and plays stronger than his size would suggest. Ellerbe can take on blocks and get off to make the tackle. He is a big hitter that aggressively attacks the ball carrier when closing in on the play. Ellerbe displays excellent instincts and quickly reads the play, and wastes no time flying to the football. His speed to close on plays and play sideline to sideline is very good and allows him to constantly be around the action.
Height is a concern for Ellerbe as he has average at best height. He is a strong player but he can have trouble sifting through traffic to get to the ball carrier. Despite his speed, Ellerbe takes an extra step to get to top speed. He does not change direction that well, and can give up some space in coverage.
Dannell Ellerbe is an instinctive linebacker that has the talent and intelligence to play on Sundays and have a big impact. Rey Maualuga and James Laurinaitis are the top seniors at the positions but Ellerbe ranks near the top of the second tier. The knee injury hindered him during the season, but he did a good job showing he has recovered. He impressed at the Georgia pro day by working out with a broken toe, and still managed to clock a 4.65.