Living large

Jason Cole
Yahoo! Sports

INDIANAPOLIS – LSU's JaMarcus Russell walked through the door of the media room at the NFL scouting combine, and as the 6-foot-5, 265-pound quarterback entered the room, a reporter walking his way stopped, gazed up at the hulking figure and was left with a one-word reaction not fit for print.

Russell, who wowed NFL folks from afar with his combination of size and arm strength, showed up Friday to talk with the media and continue to produce jaw-dropping glances from coaches.

"Oh, he's a man now," Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said with admiration. "He's got something you can't teach. He has an arm where you can't take it easy on him. With most quarterbacks, they start going (to the defense's) left, you don't expect them to throw it back across the field over the top.

"He can do that. He's dangerous for a defense. He scares you because he can throw it deep without having to use his legs."

That's because Russell, who some people have projected as the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, has plenty of everything else. From his size-14 shoes to his long arms and enormous hands, Russell is a specimen.

"The ball looks like a seed in his hand," San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan said.

Of course, there is much more to a quarterback, and there are plenty of questions about Russell, from his work ethic to his ability to read defenses. Some NFL types thought Russell looked a little flabby, although he's hardly fat.

But through the prism of this time of year, Russell is about as good as it gets. He's a quarterback, which automatically vaults him to the top of any wish list. He also has a cannon arm, good mobility and the size to shed defenders.

"Sometimes you're bigger than most of the defensive guys where I come from at the college level," Russell said before a large group of reporters. "It's a lot of fun when you've got big guys trying to tackle you and you're really not falling. You're still able to make plays. I'm bigger than most of the guys out there."

With the exception of most offensive and defensive linemen, that will continue to be the case in the NFL.

"I started playing football at the age of six," Russell added. "I've been playing quarterback ever since. I was always bigger and taller than the other kids. I was always able to throw it a pretty good length of the field."

"You can't just tackle this guy with the first defender who comes after him. It's not going to happen," Edwards said. "He's too much of a load. You see how he still makes plays after the defense starts to hit him."

Russell improved drastically this past season as a junior. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,129 yards, a school-record 28 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. He finished his college career by being named the Sugar Bowl MVP after outdueling Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. He also was ranked third in the nation in passing efficiency.

Those are some gaudy numbers and achievements.

Still, nothing is gaudier than Russell's pure size. It's the kind of size that had Edwards shaking his head.

"He's just unreal, completely unreal," the coach said.

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