Ohio State Senior
40: 4.49 (Campus)
PROS: Has nice speed, showing decent range and the burst to close on the ball. Is active in run support and does a nice job wrapping up and occasionally will deliver a hit at the point of attack. Shows nice awareness and potential when working in zone coverage. Has experience covering slot receivers with decent hips and burst.
CONS: Is undersized and it shows in run support. Too easily run over even by smaller backs. Ducks his head too much as a tackler and will miss stops in the open field. Doesn't have hips or burst to match up with NFL-caliber receivers.
OVERVIEW: He's an undersized safety that doesn't have great upside for the next level, but the type of player that gives good effort and can make an impact as a reserve. He was a two-year starter at free safety prior to this year, where he did manage to start 7 games, but also split time with Jermale Hines. Finished season year with 49 tackles and career high 3 picks. For his career, had 195 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 sacks, 6 picks, 11 passes defended, 5 forced fumbles, and 3 recoveries. Tore his ACL midway through his freshman year. His father, Kevin, was drafted by the Eagles in 1977, but never played.
NFL FORECAST: Russell was a productive player at Ohio State, but I think is too limited to really expect him to do much at the next level, at least as a starter. But he's one of those players that I think can/will catch on special teams and be able to have a fairly long NFL career because of it. I think he's too limited in run support to really like his chances there as a starter. Maybe as a stopgap. He is capable in coverage because of his speed and awareness in zone, so there's a chance he is good enough there where teams will overlook some of his deficiencies in run support. If I had to guess what type of pro he could, it would be a free safety along the same lines as Keion Carpenter was. Who made enough plays in coverage to hide some of his deficiencies in run support, but never really really managed to stick long-term anywhere for those same reasons.
ATL FORECAST: He could be a good backup free safety in Atlanta because of his ability to play in coverage. He's not good enough to overtake DeCoud because he would be a significant step down in run support, but if he can stick early on special teams could be a solid No. 2 guy by his second or third season and push Coleman off the roster there. But for the most part, as a Falcon he'll be definied by his contributions on special teams.
VALUE: For a team looking for a competent backup safety with some potential to develop in coverage, I'd probably target him in the sixth round.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.