The Bucs drafted Temple linebacker Chapelle Russell on Saturday in the seventh round with the No. 241 overall pick.
Russell was Temple’s male comeback player of the year in 2018, rebounding from ACL injuries in back-to-back years to lead the nation with five fumble recoveries. Last year, the 6-foot-2, 236-pound New Jersey native recorded 72 tackles (nine for a loss). He was a two-way player (linebacker and quarterback in high school).
“He hits you, you’re going to feel it,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said.
This won’t be Russell’s first games at Raymond James Stadium, continuing a Bucs theme for the draft. But he only had two tackles when his Owls played at USF in November. In 2017, he recorded 13 tackles (1 ½ for a loss) against the Bulls in Tampa.
General manager Jason Licht said Russell is aggressive and tough. The fact that he played at Temple, where Bruce Arians got his first head coaching job, is an added bonus.
“We loved him,” Licht said. “He fits what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to bolster our special teams, and we feel like that’s what he can do first and foremost, but we do see big upside in him.”
Four picks later, the Bucs finished their draft (barring a trade) by adding Louisiana’s Raymond Calais, their second running back of the class.
The 5-foot-8, 188-pound Louisiana native has blazing speed; he was the third quickest back at the scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. He rushed for 886 yards and six touchdowns last season but was even better on special teams. He was an all-Sun Belt returner, averaging 28.5 yards on 19 attempts.
Arians called Calais a “very smaller but much faster version of David Johnson" who could slide out to receiver and be a mismatch there.
Calais averaged 7.8 yards per rush over his four seasons in Lafayette and had 10 catches as a senior. He joins Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn as the Bucs’ running backs picks.