Last night the Kansas City Chiefs released 2016 3rd round selection Keivarae Russell. A team releasing a high draft pick one week into his career? That's almost unheard of. My question is, should the Jets be interested in bringing him in?
Most people here know that I'm a Notre Dame football fan, along with a college football fan in general. So I had the privilege of seeing Russell play week in and week out. Of course he did miss an entire season following an academic suspension, but he returned in 2015 and played well enough to warrant a high draft pick.
Before his suspension I actually claimed that he would be a first round selection and one of the finest corners to grace the playing field. There was so much to like about him, and despite him being a little rusty after a year away from the field, I actually thought he'd be drafted in the 2nd round at the latest.
So how have we gone from top corner prospect, to 3rd round draft pick, to released after one week? Well it's actually a little bit of a mystery. Andy Reid claimed it was a football decision, which I find hard to believe. Corners usually stick on a roster for at least their rookie season. 3rd round corners are given considerably more time.
There have been some rumours that some veteran players didn't like the brash nature of the youngster. Again, I find this hard to believe as a reason to release him. Reid himself said that he was a "good young man" and that he had a "bright future", which is rather contradictory. Maybe this speaks more about the Chiefs and their internal harmony than it does Russell.
His final year at Notre Dame, he started 11 games. Recording 60 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 2 interceptions and 4 pass break ups. He broke his fibula at the end of 2015, so it's hardly a surprise that he may have started slow for the Chiefs. However I can tell you that he is one smart, smooth athlete. His route recognition is excellent, and while he doesn't have the size most teams want, he plays with an aggressive edge and he's a sure tackler.
Personally I think the Chiefs have made a huge mistake. After missing 2014 and breaking his leg in 2015, he needs more time to get back to the player who was a Freshman All-American. Who was described continuously as a shut-down corner. He played against some of college football's best and held his own.
He may not be ready to start right now, but I really hope the Jets take a long hard look at this man. From what I saw of him at Notre Dame, I have no doubt he's going to make it in the NFL. This is like getting a free draft pick to add to your pile.