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2016 NFL DRAFT

KeiVarae Russell, CB

School: Notre Dame  |  Conference: FBS Independents
College Experience: Junior  |  Hometown: Everett, WA
Height/Weight: 5-11 / 196 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
224276-7

Player Overview

After sitting out the 2014 season due to academic issues, Russell was cleared and reinstated by the NCAA to play for the Irish in 2015. And talking to those close to the program, he was "Mr. Motivation" behind closed doors as he worked his way back up the depth chart.

The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Russell finished the 2015 season fourth on the Irish with 60 tackles, but missed the final two games with a broken right leg.

He was suspended from the school in 2014 for academic dishonesty, and Irish coach Brian Kelly said Russell would have had to petition the NCAA if he wanted to try to return to the program for one more season.

Russell announced his decision on Twitter on Jan. 4: "Thanks @NDFootball and @CoachBrianKelly for everything. I'm leaving, but grateful for my time at @NotreDame."

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Looks the part of an NFL cornerback with a well-developed, athletic frame, including broad shoulders, relatively long arms and a tapered waist. Possesses the raw athleticism to project well to the next level as a cover corner, showing light feet, balance and swivel hips to quickly change direction and run with receivers.

Effectively squeezes the receiver toward the sideline on vertical routes, leaving little space for quarterbacks to drop in passes. Throttles down quickly, showing good agility and balance as well as a quick burst to close downhill on underneath routes. Good stop-start quickness to recover against double-moves, accelerating fluidly and showing good speed overall.

Excellent hand-eye coordination to snake his hands between those of his opponent as the ball arrives, showing the wherewithal to break up passes even when receivers appear to have beaten him. Flashes the ability to make the incredible interception (USC), showing good vision to track the ball over his shoulder, as well as proper timing and body control to win contested passes.

Isn't a particularly physical tackler but is generally reliable, lassoing ballcarriers' legs with his arms for the effective stop.

WEAKNESSES: Too often satisfied with matching up with his receiver and losing track of the ball. Doesn't peel off of his primary assignment quickly enough to come up in run support or against underneath receivers. Relies on reading the eyes of receiver to know when to swat at the ball, failing to turn and locate, at times.

Missed the 2014 season due to academic issues and therefore must convince scouts that he possesses the football intelligence and work ethic to handle a complicated defense. Also comes with medical questions after suffering a broken right tibia which ended his 2015 season Nov. 21 against Boston College and puts his ability to work out at the Combine in doubt.

IN OUR VIEW: After missing the entire 2014 season and going down late with a broken leg in 2015, Russell's collegiate career didn't end as impressively as it began. He was an immediate standout for the Irish, starting the first 26 games of his career and emerging as the team's best cornerback. The coverage ability and confidence are there to project as Russell as a future starter at the next level, assuming, of course, that scouts are satisfied with his pre-draft testing.

--Rob Rang (1/4/16)

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
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Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
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Player News
01/04/2016 - Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell is entering the NFL draft. Russell, a senior who could have petitioned the NCAA for another year of eligibility, finished fourth on the team with 60 tackles despite missing the final two games with a broken right leg. He had two interceptions, two forced fumbles, a sack and broke up four passes. Russell said on Twitter that he was grateful for his time at Notre Dame and thanked coach Brian Kelly. Russell was suspended from school last year for academic dishonesty. Kelly has said Russell would have had to petition the NCAA if he wanted to return. Irish receiver Will Fuller, running back C.J. Prosise and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley also are entering the draft. Linebacker Jaylon Smith hasn't announced his decision. - AP Sports
 

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