NFL Draft Features Utes Russell, Ta’amu

There were 261 total football players selected in the seven round NFL Draft held on Saturday and Sunday. Two of them were from the U.

Wide receiver Cliff Russell and offensive lineman Ed Ta’amu, both seniors, were the Ute hopefuls who heard their names called, going in the third round to Washington, and the fourth to Minnesota, respectively.

Russell was the 22nd pick of the third round, getting picked up at No. 87 overall by Washington and new coach Steve Spurrier, the renowned long-time coach at the University of Florida.

With Spurrier expected to bring his vaunted “Fun-n-Gun” offense to the team, the speed-burner Russell should have a great opportunity to contribute.

Russell did have an injury plagued tenure at the U, missing six games as a freshman due to a broken collarbone, two as a sophomore because of a knee injury, and three as a junior with a broken arm. He also had surgery on his jaw prior to his senior campaign, but did not miss any games as a result.

In spite of his thin frame (5 foot-11, 183 pounds) Russell was able to utilize his 4.39 40 speed to become an effective producer for Utah over the last three years. In those seasons, he combined for 124 catches, 1,862 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He was Second Team All-MWC as a senior.

Ta’amu, meanwhile, was tabbed as the 34th pick of the fourth round (132nd overall) by the Vikings.

He started his U career on the defensive side, seeing limited action as a backup defensive end in ’98 and a reserve defensive tackle the next year before switching to guard mid-season.

In his junior season, he started all but one game on the left side?a position he kept this past season (although he did miss the first two games of the year while suspended for a July altercation).

The 6-foot-1-inch, 330 pounder played well enough throughout the year to earn a spot in the All-Star Senior Bowl.

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