In the second installment of this five part series, I will share with you my lasting affection for former first overall pick Jamarcus Russell. You could also see his name pop up one the blog in he coming weeks in Dougy’s Draft Busts series, today will be a more pro-J Russ article. Nevertheless, here is why I love everyones favorite “bust”.
In the Josh McCown article I proclaimed my soft spot for quarterbacks with a Southern charm, and this player checks the same box. Growing up right in the heart of football country in Mobile, Alabama Russell had the gridiron on his mind from a young age. In high school he started all four years and never missed a game, and in his freshman year he threw for an astounding 2,683 yards and 20 touchdowns. The best was yet to come for the young gunslinger, when his best year came following a junior year growth spurt where he shot up to 6’3 190. In his senior year season Jamarcus started recieving attention from some large Division 1 schools, after throwing for 3,332 yards and 22 touchdowns, along with 500 and 5 one the ground. Russell set the Alabama High school record with over 10,000 all purpose yards in his time, and the record still stands today. As a five star recruit and fourth overall in his class, he committed to LSU to further his football education.
To keep it short, he was a stud in college. In his junior season came a position battle for the ages between him and Matt Flynn. What an absolute laser show that is. You have boring old Matt Flynn, or the big man with an absolute piss missile of an arm ready to sling football’s fastest interceptions (later to be dethroned by Matt Stafford). Russell ended his collegiate run with 6,600 yards passing and 52 touchdowns. Heading into his pro day the dude looked like The Rock with a Howitzer for a right arm and a little huskier. He came in at 6’6 and 270 lbs, TWO SEVENTY. Absolute boulder of a quarterback. And if you’re here reading thinking that you don’t just want a ball of mass sat behind your line, then oh boy are you going to be floored with this little tidbit. Russell just trotted his way to a sub-4.7 40 yard dash. Absolutely unbelievable speed for a guy that big who also happens to be able to throw a ball off the Jumbotron with the flick of a fat wrist. Now, he did happen to have a slight drawback to his NFL prep. Never considered the brightest of the bunch, he gave a less than impressive 24 point performance on his Wonderlic test. Should this have been a red flag? Yes. Was it? Clearly not as he was taken #1 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft.
GIF from USA Today
His backstory aside, I really love this guy. Southern boy with a slingshot of a shoulder can have my heart any day. He was absolutely electric to watch in the league. My favorite Jamarcus thing of all time was his rookie deal. The massive contract set by the league’s standards was not enough for my QB, so he held out until he got a contract big enough to make Al Davis turn in his deathbed at the time at 66 million with 30+ guaranteed. Power move from a guy who had a passer rating of 60 two years later. Another all time move was an attempted 2010 return to the league, in which he weighed in at a respectable 296 lbs, more than most of the pass rushers on his Raiders team. Absolute fire cracker of a quarterback, and a guy that stole my heart from his first codeine related arrest. Number three coming soon, stay tuned.