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2016 NFL Draft: Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell

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The defensive back out of Notre Dame has never been at a loss for words.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Physical stature

Height: 5'11"

Arm Length: 31 5/8"

Weight: 192 lbs

Hands: 10"

Pro Day results

40-yard dash: 4.44 seconds

Short shuttle: 4.09 seconds

3-cone: 6.89 seconds

Vertical: 38 ½ inch

Broad jump: 11 feet, 2 inches

Combine Results

Bench press: 17 reps

Projections:

Overall: 99

Position: 11

Rounds: 3-4

Russell is joining a draft class that looks to be well-stocked with cornerbacks (Jalen Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves, and Mackensie Alexander all come to mind immediately when thinking about this crop of talent). It also doesn't help that Russell ended his career at Notre Dame with a broken leg. However, Russell has started for Notre Dame in both his freshman and sophomore years. After missing the 2014 season, he would come back and again start 11 games until ending his career with a right leg injury. Don't tell Russell that scouts view other cornerbacks out there as better than him, as he will convince you that he is the best there is with that confidence that could rival anyone's.

Season Recap

KeiVarae Russel picked right back up where he left off upon his return to Notre Dame from a yearlong suspension due to academics. He came back and started 11 games opposite of Cole Luke to open up the 2015 season before going down to injury. He would also tie Cole in leading the team with interceptions at 2. He would, however, be second on the team in pass break-ups with 4, have 3.5 tackles for loss, and be 6th on the team with 48 tackles. For someone who had the motivation to come back and prove something in the off season leading up to his 2015 return, it was kind of odd that one day in practice (the week before the USC game, I think?) that Russell was talking to coach Kelly and basically said that he wasn't focusing/trying as hard as he could.


Strengths

Scouts like Russell's build as a defensive back. He also plays fast with good hips and stays light on his feet. He has good route recognition, and can anticipate which route the receive is going to run. Has good recovery speed needed to cover. Tackles the right way by using his chest or shoulder and wraps up. He also has good hand eye coordination, having a knack for breaking up passes.

Weaknesses

Scouts would like to see Russell work on tracking the ball and improve upon his ball skills instead of just settling to match up against his man (if you remember, in the USC game he didn't locate the ball and miss an interception. Kelly got on him for that on the sideline to look for the ball, thus, on the next defensive series, Russell picked the ball off). Can lose his balance and cause inconsistency when there is a change of direction. He can also be late to come off from his primary assignment in time to help with underneath receivers or come up against the run. His broken fibula at the end of 2015 are still giving some teams concerns.

Player Comparisons

Aaron Colvin

Quote

"He has second day talent as a cover corner, but he's not as big as you want and now the broken legs might complicate things."-AFC regional scout