Rookie Watch: Local Standout Russell Looks To Fit Into Crowded DE Spot

*(Editor's Note: With the offseason practices now complete, the Cowboys will take some downtime before departing for training camp on July 28. Until then, let's focus on some of the more unknown rookies on this team, fighting for a roster spot. Today's featured player is defensive end Ryan Russell.) *

Name: Ryan Russell

Position: Defensive End

College: Purdue     

Height/Weight: 6-4 / 268

Acquired: Draft (5th Round, 163rd overall)

Jersey Number: 99

Collegiate Career:After a standout prep career at Carrollton (TX) Creekview High School, less than 15 minutes from the Cowboys' practice facility in Valley Ranch, Russell started 47 of 50 career games at Purdue. He totaled 149 tackles, 25 for loss to go along with 10 sacks, good for 19th in Boilermaker history. He forced four fumbles and recovered four. Russell has played in both the 4-3 and 3-4 scheme, and even enjoyed a career-high four sacks as a sophomore in 2012 in the 3-4 defense. In a fun fact with coincidence, Russell hosted Randy Gregory on his official visit to Purdue before Gregory chose Nebraska. Both of them ended up in the same draft class for the Cowboys.

Did You Know?Russell was the only Purdue player drafted in 2015, but it still extended the school's streak to 18 consecutive years with at least one player drafted. In that span, the Cowboys have drafted former Boilermakers Anthony Spencer (first round, 2007) and Jacques Reeves (seventh round, 2004).   

2015 Outlook:Having already signed Hardy and drafted Gregory, the Cowboys proved just how serious they were about adding pass-rush depth when they took Russell on the third day of the draft. Russell has a lot of competition for playing time, but he can get after the quarterback as a potential left end. And Purdue is known for producing pass rushers – the Cowboys got many good years from Spencer as a 2007 first-round pick.

Scout's Take:

  • Has power to hold the point.
  • There are snaps last season when he was playing on the edge that the ball got outside on him.
  • Can be stiff moving at times, but others when you see him adjust and change direction.
  • Has some upper-body power, but would like to see him use it more.
  • Has the length to get in the throwing lanes.
  • Tools are there to develop.

 – Bryan Broaddus

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