2016 NFL Draft Watch: Part 3

3 of 5

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Alonzo Russell, Wide Receiver, Toledo
6’4″, 205 lbs.

The 2014 draft class set an unrealistic expectation for fans as to what a rookie receiver can do and it is followed up by a 2015 draft class that will fall short of those expectations, but still turn out pretty dang good.  Players like Laquan Treadwell and Tyler Boyd get all the buzz, but guys like Alonzo Russell can still make a name for themselves in the NFL, though it will take a bit more work.

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Russell is a big, long armed deep threat that runs a limited route tree.  Similar to how

Devin Smith

was used at Ohio State, the Rockets basically just sent Russell on deep routes and let him fight for the ball.  He isn’t the talent that Smith is, but he wins many of his contests in the air and that’s valuable in the NFL.  Russell runs with power and is able to make his own yards after the catch against smaller DBs.

His route running is poor outside of the deep routes.  While he can separate with long strides, he tends to get pushy when DBs are still on him late in the route.  Routes requiring him to make hard cuts are difficult for him and he loses a lot of speed to do so.  He doesn’t show much understanding of field awareness, which shows the most on comeback type routes where he does just enough to finish the route but doesn’t help his QB by separating from the DB if he’s done on his route. Likely a mid to late round pick if he improves, Russell is an option to watch in 2016.


Next: Scooby Wright III, LB, Arizona