Hand Technique/Length – Like his punch and awareness to lock out his arms and stack blockers. He needs to watch his placement, he can come in a little high at times and will flirt with getting under the face mask. He shows good, emphatic push on his disengage to clear and disengage.
Competitive Toughness – Pretty tough to uproot and move. Even when he's not collapsing the pocket, it isn't often you'll find him pushed off the line of scrimmage, even against double teams. True nose tackle who can set the tone in the middle and make interior running difficult.
Two Gap Ability – Highly effective. Love his anchor and stack, followed by lateral mobility to string out and then powerful hands to bench press and peel off. He's got good reactive quickness as ball is tucked up into a nearby gap to press off and get his pads into the ball carrier for tackles.
Gap Penetration Skills – Not necessarily going to make his hay here, but he has his moments. His initial quickness can allow him to take some gaps when he's aligned in between blockers. Has more restrictions coming to balance and redirecting.
Tackling – Good finishing skills. He's got great rotational range of motion through his hips and torso to open to the ball carrier and get a firm wrap. He's got a lot of mass and can be pretty forceful with his finish to tear down a ball carrier.
Flexibility – He doesn't really offer anything exciting in lateral situations, although he has enough reach in his hips to open himself and play side to side. His bend shines in anchoring, he can get the hips low and press his arms to stay stout and sturdy underneath the pads of blockers.
Pass Rush Counters – Offers essentially nothing here. He has a decent first step burst but he lacks length to really dictate and contact blockers early and his best hope is to bull rush in one on ones and force the pocket to be collapsed into the lap of the quarterback.
First Step Quickness – There's a little bit of spring in the big man's legs, when he's teed up on obvious passing situations he's able to find some burst and he'll catch heavy footed pass blockers by surprise, which does allow him to get some modest penetration to the pocket.
Feet/Change Of Direction – He's a little top heavy and when he's hoping to collect himself and redirect, that's when he can be prone to losing his balance. Can get ridden out of plays laterally and struggle to gear back down and find his anchor once moving on a scrape.
Versatility – Enough to give in penetration to play on all but the most obvious of passing down and distances. He can realistically play in odd and even fronts as the middle man and be a looming presence to be accounted for by multiple blockers.
BEST TRAIT – Two Gap Ability
WORST TRAIT – Pass Rush Counters
BEST FILM – LSU (2018)
WORST FILM – Alabama (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Dontavius Russell is an impressive nose tackle prospect with a pretty clear projection to the pros. Russell is an early down player and his stout anchor and ability to stuff up interior gaps will give him a clear niche to fill for a team looking to let their linebackers flow clean and make plays. Russell won't offer much in the way of third downs, he's very lethargic as a pass rusher. But as a run stuffer and gap occupying defender, Russell can enter the pros and start fairly quickly.
Round Grade - Fourth Round