The New York Giants could use a big wide receiver with the physical skills to be a red zone asset. Can Alonzo Russell be that player? Let’s look at the former Toledo receiver as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: 2 (all as a practice squad player)
2017 season in review
An undrafted free agent who spent the 2016 season the practice squad of the Cincinnati Bengals, we was waived by the Bengals after the 2017 preseason. He hooked on for part of the season with the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. The Giants signed him as a free agent in May.
Over two preseasons with Cincinnati, Russell caught four passes for 29 yards. Only one of those, for just 4 yards, was in the 2017 preseason.
Russell appears to be a player who has size at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds and physical gifts that continue to get him chances with NFL teams. Going back to him time at Toledo, though, scouts appear to be miffed as to why Russell hasn’t gotten better since an outstanding freshman season.
Here is what a scout said about Russell prior to the 2016 NFL Draft:
“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
Russell looks the part with a big body and 33 7/8-inch arms, but he frustrated on film with inconsistent effort and struggles versus press-man coverage. Russell was an effective lower-level college wideout whose game is unlikely to translate.
So far, those reports appear to have proven accurate. With the Giants, Russell is competing for roster spots a crowd of players that includes Kalif Raymond, Hunter Sharp, Russell Shepard, Amba Etta-Tawo, Marquis Bundy, Travis Rudolph and Roger Lewis Jr.
Can he step up his game and earn one of the final wide receiver spots on the Giants’ roster? Past history would indicate probably not, but the intriguing physical ability gives him a chance.