The NFL has been a unique experience for Atiyyah Ellison. He can't seem to get in, but he can't seem to get out, either.
Ellison refers to his NFL career as a "roller coaster." He appeared to be climbing when Carolina selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft.
"I was on cloud nine, but I got cut and put on the practice squad. As a third-round pick, that's unheard of," Ellison said. "I got cut again in the next training camp. Houston picked me up and I was there four days and they cut me. Baltimore put me on their practice squad. Then I tore my labrum. San Francisco picked me up."
That's where the Jaguars enter the picture. They claimed Ellison off the 49ers' practice squad late last season, which prompted a call from the 49ers' defensive line coach to Jaguars defensive line coach Ted Monachino.
He said "we got their best kid and he's going to flourish in our system," Monachino recalled of that conversation. "He's been out of his element the past few years in San Francisco."
Ellison is a pure 4-3 defensive tackle. He was not a good fit for the 49ers' 3-4.
"He's got great measurables. He's got the size to do what you ask tackles to do. We think he has a great opportunity here," Monachino said of Ellison.
Ellison sees this as his last opportunity.
"I'm blessed to still be getting these calls. It's up to how you produce. I think any job can be taken. I'm focused. I think my luck is running out. People aren't going to be taking chances on me. Realistically, I'm not going to bounce around to all 32 teams," he said.
The Jaguars are looking for a few good men at defensive tackle. The hope is that John Henderson will return to his dominant ways of a few years ago, Derek Landri takes the next step forward, rookie Terrance Knighton is a player worthy of the third-round pick they invested in him, and that Ellison or someone else from the lower ranks emerges.
"What am I doing wrong?" Ellison said he asked himself as he bounced from team to team. "Nobody believed in me enough to give me an opportunity."
Nobody was willing to quit on Ellison, either, and now he would appear to have a real chance to establish a career in the NFL.
"We're trying to find what our depth chart is. It's hard to win or lose positions now. We're trying to learn what kind of learners they are and what kind of movement skills they have," Monachino said.
Linebackers Clint Ingram and Russell Allen and safety Sean Considine intercepted passes in Monday's team drills.