NFL Draft

2019 Steelers UDFA Player Profiles: Maryland OT Damian Prince

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the books, we’re wrapping things up by offering player profiles on all the UDFAs signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The franchise’s history is strong with diamonds in the rough though in recent years, the classes have been weak. Hopefully this crop changes that trend.

#58 Damian Prince / OL Maryland – 6’4” 306

The Good

  • Lots of right tackle starting experience
  • Experience playing from the TE spot in unbalanced line alignments
  • Good push on down blocks/double teams
  • Good anchor; not easily moved off his spot
  • Good awareness and temperament on twists and stunts

The Bad

  • Lateral quickness is below average
  • Hands are slow to come up and meet the defender
  • Drops his head at the point of contact
  • Doesn’t sustain his blocks in the run game
  • Gets grabby vs quicker defenders who get outside his frame
  • Could get more depth in Pass Pro; may struggle with NFL speed rushers

Bio

  • Stared 39 of 43 games
  • 2018 – Led all returning tackles in Big Ten allowing just eight pressures in 2018 according to Pro Football Focus
  • 17th best rushing offense in the country and third best in the Big Ten, averaging 230.2 yards per game
  • 2017 – led the Big Ten in pass-blocking efficiency according to Pro Football Focus
  • Graduated with a degree in Family Science in May 2018; working on his post-baccalaureate in African American Studies

Tape Breakdown

The Steelers made a handful of signings of players given tryouts and that included a teammate of seventh round pick Derwin Gray. Damian Prince (#58) was the bookend tackle on the right side of the Maryland Terrapins opposite of Gray.  He had a ton of starting experience in college, something the Steelers love, and made the most of his tryout opportunity.

At his pro day he measured in at over 6’4” and 306 pounds with 33 ½ inch arms and an 80 ¾ inch wingspan.  He ran a 5.53 40, put up 19 reps on the bench with a 26 ½ inch vertical. He finished with an 8’5” broad jump, 5.02 short shuttle and an 8.58 3 cone.

In the run game, despite his size he wasn’t really a people mover.  He shows solid quickness at the snap but was consistently late getting his hands up.  He has good balance and very good core strength. I saw him several times take good punches from the hands of defenders and he didn’t budge.

On inside Zone runs he showed enough agility to get into good position to wall off defenders and solid timing on combo blocks getting to the second level. He struggled at time with the quickness of LB’s and safeties but when he comes in under control he can easily handle smaller defenders.  On outside Zone runs, he generally lacked the lateral quickness and agility to get reach blocks and when he did get outside he didn’t always identify the most dangerous defender.

In the Power/Gap run game there was more promise. He did get push on down blocks and worked well with teammates in double team blocks. He dips his head at contact and doesn’t lock on defenders long enough to sustain the blocks. They didn’t use him often to pull but he did work to square up coming around the edge and had success when able to engage second level blockers.

Vs Texas, he is facing off with Charles Omenihu. Omenihu gets the first punch and Prince drops his head but is able to stalemate and control the defender on the fly sweep.

At Penn State, here is one of the few times he was asked to pull. He’s not fleet of foot but he squares up at the LOS and has a good line to the DB.

Vs Ohio State, he stays inside and keeps the legs moving and drives the edge outward opening a big lane for the RB

Vs Ohio State it’s a zone left play and he’s on the backside. He gets to the second level to cut off the LB giving the RB room to run

As a pass blocker he showed a lot of confidence and poise. He has a solid kick step and is balance getting into his position. He strength shows up again here as he’s able to absorb the initial punch from the rusher but he’ll need to get his hands up quicker to give himself the advantage. He currently brings his hand up from a low position to outside the rusher, almost catching him.  But he has the strength to push rushers up the arc, adjusts well to inside moves and can anchor against power rushes.  He may need to quicken his drop to handle speed rushers better and he gets grabby when quicker player get outside of his frame. He is very good in versus twists and stunts playing very calm, doesn’t chase the defender to the inside and passes off/picks up defenders very smoothly.

At Iowa, the defender starts up the outside and dips to the B gap and Prince adjusts well to cut it off and stop it.

Vs Ohio State, he motions from RT to the left TE positions and handles a speed rush up the  arc.

At Penn State, here is an example on a twist. The DE crashes inside and he passes him off smoothly and picks up the DT looping to the outside.

Overall, there is some potential in Prince but there is work to be done.  He needs to improve his hand quickness, breakdown better in space and step up the aggressiveness as a run blocker. He’s a solid pass blocker who plays calmly and confidently who doesn’t get flustered. But again the hands need to be quicker and we’ll see if he can handle speed on the outside. I think RT is the right spot for him and don’t see a move inside.

The biggest problem for him may be the depth the Steelers have on the offensive line right now. It’ll be tough to push through those that are already there but with some improvement in camp he could push for practice squat spot.

Chance to Make the Team: 1%

Games Watched:  2018 – Vs Texas, At Iowa, Vs Ohio State, At Penn State

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