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Football

KeiVarae Russell drafted No. 74 overall by Kansas City Chiefs in 2016 NFL Draft

| Friday, April 29, 2016

Former Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 74 overall pick — the 11th pick of the third round — in the 2016 NFL Draft on Friday night.

Russell, who started 11 games for Notre Dame this season, was the third Irish player to come off the board on the night and fifth overall in the draft, following Ronnie Stanley, Will Fuller, Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin, respectively.

Former Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell celebrates a third-down stop during Notre Dame's 38-3 win over Texas on Sept. 5 at Notre Dame Stadium. Russell was the fifth Irish player to be drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft.Michael Yu | The Observer

Former Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell, 6, celebrates a third-down stop during Notre Dame’s 38-3 win over Texas on Sept. 5 at Notre Dame Stadium. Russell was the fifth Irish player to be drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Everett, Washington, native missed all of the 2014 season after an academic suspension, but returned to become a defensive leader for the Irish last year, racking up 60 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss, and tying for a team-high two interceptions. Russell is the 55th Irish defensive back to be drafted and the first since Bennett Jackson was drafted in the sixth round by the New York Giants in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Russell is expected to compete for starting time at both the safety and nickelback positions after the Chiefs lost cornerback Sean Smith to free agency and safety Husain Abdullah to retirement this offseason.

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