The Cincinnati Bengals are getting Toledo Rockets receiver Alonzo Russell as an undrafted free agent.
TheRocketNation.com was the first to report the news:
Alonzo Russell is headed to the Cincinnati Bengals. #RocketNation— TheRocketNation (@TheRocketNation) April 30, 2016
An impact player every year of college. Russell has a great shot of earning a roster spot for a Bengals team in need of help at receiver. As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Russell caught 56 passes for 960 yards and five scores. He caught 59 passes for 728 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2013
Russell followed that up with 51 grabs for 770 yards and eight scores in 2014. He finished off his career with 36 catches for 618 yards and five scores in 2015. The decline in production is a bit concerning, but he's a good receiver who got a draftable grade by some.
Here's what NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote about him:
STRENGTHS: Tall with good weight and arm length and ability to add more muscle. Drops hips and opens very quickly to find the ball on comebacks. Does his best work in intermediate game working back to throws in space. Lulls defenders with varied route speed when working the middle of the field. Had some issues with drops this year, but appears to be natural hands catcher. Ball winner down the field with great high point and ball tracking. Shows some route savvy in his work.
WEAKNESSES: Too eager to test his luck with contested catches rather than stacking cornerbacks on his hip for easier grabs. Doesn't have much juice into routes off snap and a quality press can hinder him. Inconsistent in his play speed and is unable to create consistent separation with underneath routes. Not as committed to blocking as he should be with his size. Scouts say he found coaches' doghouse while at Toledo.
SOURCES TELL US: "When a player with his height, weight, speed doesn't get any better from his first year you really have to wonder what is going on. He should have been a 1,000-yard receiver at some point and he never was." -- AFC East scout
NFL COMPARISON: Dontrelle Inman
BOTTOM LINE: Smooth receiver with the size NFL teams covet for an outside receiver, but scouts have lingering questions about his toughness over the middle and lack of improvement during his time at Toledo. Russell saw 83.3 percent of his catches go for first downs this year and looks very natural when he gets into a rhythm. If he runs well, his draft stock may warm up, but he's likely a Day 3 draft target who will fight for a backup spot.
With so much uncertainty at receiver right now, Russell will have a shot to not only make the roster, but get on the field as a rookie.