Alonzo Russell has some NFL scouts puzzled.
Looking at the Toledo star's 6'4" 205 lb. frame working out at the combine, one would think he's set to be a threat on the outside.
Russell is decently quick, has the size to go up and get balls thrown high, and has an upside to use his size in the blocking game. While that last aspect of his game certainly needs work, there's no reason to expect he can't grow in that capacity.
While Russell does catch intermediate route balls well and shown a decent ability to pick up large chunks for first down, he shouldn't yet be mistaken as someone who is willing to go out over the middle and take bigger hits.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had this to say:
Drops hips and opens very quickly to find the ball on comebacks. Does his best work in intermediate game working back to throws in space. Lulls defenders with varied route speed when working the middle of the field. Had some issues with drops this year, but appears to be natural hands catcher. Ball winner down the field with great high point and ball tracking. Shows some route savvy in his work.
One criticism that has been heard from scouts has been Russell's lack of growth statistically and skill-wise as a receiver. An All-MAC selection in each of his four years, Russell was consistently solid each of his years in school, but his stats were better in his first three years than in his last. Sure having a duo like Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson to hand the ball of to deters the passing game a little bit, but Russell ability to be an outside threat should arguably have been enhanced. While he did tie a career-high by going for 17.1 yards per reception, he finished with just five touchdowns.
Then there's this from NFL.com.
When a player with his height, weight, speed doesn't get any better from his first year you really have to wonder what is going on. He should have been a 1,000-yard receiver at some point and he never was." -- AFC East scout
Let's look at his measurables for a second here:
- As mentioned before, 6'4" 205 lb.
- Arm length: 33 7/8"
- Hands: 9 1/2"
- 4.54 40-yard dash
- 29.5 inch vertical jump
I'm told Toledo's Alonzo Russell worked out for the Patriots today. The scout was on campus this afternoon.— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) April 6, 2016
That's never a bad place to hear whispers about being connected to.
There's a good possibility Russell doesn't get drafted at all, but don't be super-surprised if someone snatches him up toward the end of day three.