Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1992, Pro Set 1991
Acquired: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1991, 1992, 1997
Russell Maryland while at the University of Miami had played for Jimmy Johnson before he jumped to the NFL in 1989. Maryland would cement his status as the strongest defensive line prospect in the 1991 draft by winning the UPI Lineman of the Year award and the Outland Trophy in 1990. In that season he’d make 96 tackles and 10.5 sacks for the Hurricanes.
The Dallas Cowboys traded up in the draft in 1991 so that they could acquire Russell Maryland to play right defensive tackle with the #1 pick in 1991. In order to grab him the Cowboys traded starting middle linebacker Eugene Lockhart, defensive back Ron Francis, linebacker David Howard, their 2nd round pick and Minnesota’s first round pick (that Dallas had gotten in the previous season in exchange for Herschel Walker).
At 6’1″, 300, I was very confused by the fanfare that surrounded Maryland who while he improved the Cowboys defense to some degree and helped them win 3 SuperBowls, -failed to be an impact as a pass rusher or run stopper statistically. In fact his statistics ended up being somewhat pedestrian as he never had over 5 sacks or 60 tackles in 10 seasons. In retrospect, Maryland was a decent lineman, but certainly not worthy of the impact blue chip #1 slot typically reserved for draftees. In 1993 Russell would earn a Pro Bowl nomination after he made 56 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, but by 1994 he was already splitting time in a platoon with other defensive linemen and shifted to left defensive tackle which would further impact his numbers.
In 1996 Maryland would sign via free agency with the Oakland Raiders. He’d start 16 games 3 times over the next 4 seasons for the Raiders (- a feat he only accomplished once in 5 seasons for Dallas). He’d tie his career high in tackles in 1997, and sacks with 4.5. I’d get Russell’s autograph at Dallas Cowboys Training Camp prior to that season as the Raiders visited on his Action Packed Rookies 1992 card. He’d play with the Raiders through 1999, then sign with the Green Bay Packers where he notched his first career safety and retire after the conclusion of the 2000 season.
G/Gp 154/140 Tac 375 Sac 24.5 Fum 9 Int 1 Yds 2 Avg 2.0 Td 0 Lg 2