From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
Rasul Douglas/CB West Virginia – 6’1/5 209
– Prototypical size with good length (32 1/4 inch arms)
– Uses length well, contests throws and able to pin receiver to sideline versus outside release, takes away WRs space
– Playmaker, good hands and hand/eye coordination, high level of production despite not playing much D1 football
– Best in press man alignment when he’s able to be physical and the LOS
– Shows some level of physicality on throws over the middle, will throw his shoulder and body into the throw to try and break it up
– Good effort player who chases the ball downfield
– Aggressive in press but knows when to play clean and disengage, didn’t see him penalized much
– Experience playing the field and boundary, also used on blitzes and did well coming off the edge
– Football bloodlines
– Lacks long speed, evident on tape and in testing (4.59 at Combine)
– Trouble transitioning, stiff, and struggles to break down in man coverage vs breaking routes, especially comebacks/curls after he’s opened his hips and at full speed
– Appears extremely uncomfortable in off man, isn’t great out of his pedal to close space on underneath throws and allows too much YAC
– An average tackler at best who drops his eye level and isn’t as physical and reliable as his size might suggest
– Struggles to get off stalk blocks in the run game
– Raw, just a one year starter
– 2016: 70 tackles, 8 INT, 1 FF
– Had eight tackles, 1 INT in 2015 with WVU
– Transferred in from JUCO after spending three seasons there, had five interceptions in two years playing (redshirted in 2012), chose WVU over scholarship offers from Florida State and Louisville
In this new-age wave of cornerbacks, guys who would’ve been receivers ten years ago, Douglas fits that bill. At nearly 6’2, 209, he certainly has the look. And the playmaking ability. One of the most impressive things about Douglas is how seamlessly he was able to step into the Mountaineers’ lineup and become – in their coaches’ words – their best defensive player. Only spent two years at WVU, heck, he was at his JUCO for longer, and just one year starting. By 2016, he tied the NCAA lead with eight interceptions.
And they were mostly legitimate ones too. Maybe none as impressive as this, showing off his length to come over the top and break up this slant, pop the ball into the air, and make a diving interception.
When receivers try to release to the outside, he does a nice job of using the sideline to his advantage, pinning them and owning that space. Patrick Mahomes’ go ball is off-target but that’s probably a good thing because only Douglas would’ve had a chance at this one. That helps mitigate his lack of speed.
But unlike a Cordrea Tankersley, Douglas is a pretty average athlete. That’s a killer. Long speed is probably average and he’s stiff. Change of direction ability is not great. At the top of the screen, he completely loses the receiver breaking off his comeback route, unable to change direction in any reasonable time. Tough for him to slow down, sink his hips, flip and break once he gets up to speed.
And in off man…the results aren’t great. Gives up a huge play here because he has trouble transitioning and getting downhill and when he does, he’s late, and the receiver cuts inside, making him miss and goes for another 50 yards.
While Douglas has a lot of impressive characteristics, he’s far behind the likes of other tall corners in Tankersley, Quincy Wilson and Ahkello Witherspoon. He simply isn’t on the same level athletically, he’s much stiffer, that’s the key, and his tackling is about the same or only marginally better.
I still like parts of his game and can definitely see the Steelers being interested in him after those guys are off the board. We’re looking at an early Day Three candidate.
Projection: Early Day Three (early 4th)
Games Watched: at Texas Tech, vs Oklahoma, at Iowa State, vs Miami (FL), Senior Bowl