DT Dontavius Russell, Auburn

6’3” – 319 lbs. – 5.15
Redshirted, then went on to start forty-nine of fifty-two games played over the next four years, posting 42-4.5-1.5 in 2015, 29-0.0-0.0 in 2016, 46-6.5-3.0 in 2017, and 36-6.0-1.0 this past year. Very thickly-built defensive tackle with arms (32”) and hands (9.5”) which are a little bit shorter than you’d like. Lined up at nose tackle for the Tigers, typically as a one-technique. When the team went with three down linemen, would often play as more of a five-technique defensive end. Not one of the most explosive players off the snap; inconsistent reaction times. Has a tendency to get straight up out of his stance, essentially forfeiting the leverage battle. However, does flash the ability to fire out low and use a swim move to get into the backfield and create disruption. Looks more like a two-gap, read-and-react player on most snaps, locking out opposing linemen and scraping toward the ball. Has the power in his lower-body to anchor at the line of scrimmage. Plays with smarts, patience, and awareness, doing a good job of locating the ball and letting the play unfold; avoids getting too aggressive and running himself out of position. Understands his responsibilities in the team’s run fits and when working in backside pursuit. Uses his hands well in the run game. Good ability to shed blocks and make tackles at the appropriate time; can also bring down ballcarriers with one arm while engaged. Range, however, is limited by just average athletic ability; not the type of guy who’s going to make many stops outside of the hashes. Doesn’t offer a whole lot on passing downs; as previously mentioned, isn’t one of the quickest or most explosive linemen in the class and has a somewhat straightforward power-based approach on most snaps, ending up around the line of scrimmage. Consequently, may be seen as more of a rotational run-stopper, although he was often on the field on third downs during the games reviewed. Offers an impressive combination of size, strength, patience, and intelligence which makes you root for him; however, isn’t one of the most dynamic players in this year’s draft, struggling to anticipate snap counts and fire out low to create disruption, and perhaps lacking the passing-down value to stay on the field on third downs. Should be able to compete for a role in a rotation as a two-down, two-gap run stuffer and looks like a third-day candidate.

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