The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of many NFL organizations who could be looking at an offensive tackle in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. However, unlike the other franchises who are looking to add to their current offensive line depth chart, the Steelers possess the 24th overall pick.
Not really conducive to getting a top tier prospect, but after players like Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, there are a lot of talented tackles who could be available to the Steelers at pick No. 24.
There is the chance the Steelers choose to take a tackle to bolster their offensive line depth in 2021, and if Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw is available when the Steelers pick, is he too good to pass on?
I did some digging on Darrisaw, and put together a brief synopsis of the kind of player he is, and will be when becoming a professional. Below you’ll see draft profile breakdowns, film room breakdowns and game film for you to enjoy.
Don’t listen to me, or anyone else, form your own opinion on Darrisaw. I plan on doing this for other prospects as the draft approaches. If there is a specific player you’d like to see covered, simply let me know and I’ll be glad to put it together!
Let us know your thoughts on Darrisaw in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.
Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw earned the opportunity to start for the Hokies as a true freshman and did nothing but improve for three seasons, developing into a dominant blocker in 2020. From a size, length, and mobility standpoint, Darrisaw firmly checks the boxes and should immediately become an asset to an NFL franchise in pass protection, outside zone runs, and utilizing his exceptional ability to pull and connect with moving targets in space. Like most young offensive linemen, Darrisaw has room to add functional strength to improve his overall power at the point of attack, but it’s far from a deficiency that is of major concern. The amount of technical growth Darrisaw has demonstrated throughout the course of his career is exciting when considering his starting point for the next level and how he peaked at the perfect time. It shouldn’t take long for Darrisaw to earn a starting role in the NFL and he has the upside to become a standout, franchise left tackle.
Ideal Role: Starting left tackle
Scheme Fit: Zone run scheme
- Excellent skill set
- Ideal height, length and weight
- Good athlete
- Quick feet
- Gets depth in his drop to neutralize speed rushers
- Can play the typewriter to cut off the corner
- Bends at the knee
- Doesn’t have to reach for rushers
- Fast to the second level
- Walls off and ties up defenders in the ground game
- Athletic upside
- Three year starter
- Finesse blocker
- Does not have a mean streak, tenacity
- Coasts through plays; doesn’t finish defenders off
- Struggles when he has to get physical
- Not a bull dozer in the ground game
- Struggles to knock defenders off the ball
- Lacks heavy hands
- Complacent style of play
Summary: Darrisaw broke into the starting lineup in 2018, and over three seasons, he became a good starting left tackle for the Hokies. Darrisaw and his skill set earned the attention of NFL scouts as a potential blind-side protector for the next level, and he has the physical talent to be an early-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
As a pass protector Darrisaw has a lot of qualities that NFL teams look for in starting left tackles. He has good size, length, and athleticism to block on the edge. Darrisaw is quick out his stance to get in position to pick up edge rushers, and his size makes it tough for defenders to get around him. Thanks to Darrisaw’s quality hand placement and length, edge rushers struggle to avoid contact with him, and that sets him up to win a lot of his assignments quickly. Darrisaw is quick and a good athlete on the edge. With his agility and movement skills, Darrisaw has the ability to neutralize speed rushers off the edge.
Darrisaw is solid as a run blocker. He uses his big body to tie up defenders and lean on them. Darrisaw is more of the type to turn defenders and tie them up from getting to the ball-carrier, rather than knocking them off the ball. For the NFL, Darrisaw could be better off in a zone-blocking system rather a power-man rushing attack.
Player Comparison: Russell Okung. Team sources compared Darrisaw to Okung. It makes sense as they are both athletic, big and agile, but lack physicality and a mean streak.
Extremely athletic left tackle with long-looking arms and brute power and physical playing strength, with an inconsistent motor. Declared as a junior. Tends to stay off the ground. Sometimes gives up on blocks too soon — both in pass pro and run blocking. Once in a while, a “flash-fire” temper comes out, and he will blow someone up.
Looks good setting up pre-snap, with his left foot kicked outside. Looks alert and poised to protect. Quickly slides into position on the outskirts of the perimeter. Decent hand placement at the point of attack. Hard to beat once he gets his powerful and strong hands on the opponent. Fighter. Slides and maintains most of the time, but does show a strong, glaring tendency to stop moving his feet toward the backdoor of the pocket, to then bend his waist and start losing control. Speed rushers with power could be a real issue in these situations at the next level. Another concern was in all four games, he allowed one quarterback hit, after release on blitzes coming from his area of responsibility.
Strong-at-the-point run-blocker who often sustains and controls just long enough. Position and leverage blocks to seal the lanes. Did show tendency to sometimes give up on a block too soon. Incredible in space. Excellent at second level — way downfield — and at pulling. Rare athletic and blocking ability in space. Looked graceful moving around. Flashes extreme aggression and physicality (especially against smaller players).
Darrisaw, overall, is a physical specimen, with the rare combination of pure power and athleticism.
The three main consistent concerns are his footwork at the back door in pass pro, blitzes off his edge and when he has a letdown and gives up on a block too quickly.
These three negatives could cause noticeable issues at the next level. However, they do not overshadow all the things he does at a very high level.