A big reason why Auburn won 10 games in the SEC ranked 10th in the Final AP Poll was a defense that finished in the top 15 in both yards given up per game and total points. One of the rocks of their defense was defensive tackle Dontavius Russell who presence in the middle of the defense was a big reason why this defense was so accomplished. Here are three reasons that Dontavius Russell needs to be on your 2019 NFL Draft Radar.
3 Reasons to Know Dontavius Russell
The first thing that stands out when watching Russell is his ability to use his strength both when playing the run or rushing the passer. Against the run he’s able to hold the point of attack to clog up lanes while being able to shed blocks and attack the ball as his 117 total tackles show. When rushing the passer Russell is able to get good leverage against guards and use that power to put lineman on skates driving them into the backfield.
2. Hand Usage
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 31, 2017
Too often you see big defensive tackles who play close to the center show good power but end up taking on blocks and eating space. What makes Dontavius Russell different is his ability to use his hands well. While Russell has the power to push guards around, his ability to shed and disengage to make a play cannot be made without his powerful hands to keep the lineman off his body and the quickness to move off. As a pass rusher he’s able to use heavy hands to knock the lineman’s hands down to get the advantage and let his size and power take over to get into the backfield to disrupt. Russell may never be a 8-10 sack defensive tackle, but he has the traits to create penetration and force the quarterback to move and possible run into a sack.
3. Battle Tested
If there is one position that is deep in talented players is the SEC and defensive lineman. So for a player to go to a Blue Blood SEC program and start during his redshirt freshman season shows that he is a talented athlete. Russell has already started 37 of 40 games going against Draftable offensive lineman on a weekly basis shows us a lot already. Add in at least 13 more games and your looking at a defensive tackle with 50 college starts.