From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling South Carolina CB Darius Rush.
#28 Darius Rush/CB South Carolina – 6015, 196 (Redshirt Senior)
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Darius Rush||6015, 196||9 1/2||32 3/4||79 3/4|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Athletic frame with enough muscle, prototypical size and very good length
— Plus athlete with excellent straight-line speed, will be able to run with virtually anyone
— Fluid player with good change of direction, stays low in his pedal and able to explode out of his breaks, doesn’t get tall when asked to flip his hips
— Reliable man coverage corner comfortable getting his hands on receivers
— Experience playing tight and off-man coverage
— Special teams value and impact even into his final season, work as a starting gunner
— Wide receiver background who understands route tree and finds the football in the air
— High-effort player who chases the football sideline-to-sideline
— Good starting experience against strong competition
— Played both outside corner spots, field side more than boundary but took reps at both
— Needs to be more active in the run game, will flail a bit coming downhill and not come to balance as a tackle
— Prone to getting stuck on stalk blocks
— Too often punches with the wrong hand in press coverage off the line, causing his hips to not open and him get beat off the line
— Didn’t have gaudy takeaway numbers, dropped some missed chances you wouldn’t expect for a former wide receiver
— Can stop feet against double-moves and have to catch up
— Little to no work in the slot
— No return experience/value
— Turned 23 earlier this month
— 21 career starts for the Gamecocks, two-year starter
— Career: 75 tackles (5 TFL) 15 PDs, three INTs, 1 FF
— 2022: 38 tackles (2 TFL), 2 INTs
— Began college career as a receiver for 2018 redshirt season, switched from WR to CB midway through fall camp in 2019
— Missed most of redshirt season with an injury
— Three-star recruit from Greeleyville, South Carolina, chose South Carolina over Charlotte, Miami (OH), Old Dominion, and South Carolina State
— Listed at 170 pounds out of high school
— Caught 17 TD passes on 47 receptions senior year of high school, rushed for 12 touchdowns, while picking off two passes on defense
— Multi-sport athlete in high school who also played golf, baseball, basketball, and ran track
I first got eyes on Rush during this year’s Senior Bowl. With most of the draft chatter around teammate Cam Smith, a potential first-round pick, Rush impressed during his week down there. He’s got good size and length and is a really impressive athlete. A multi-athlete in high school, you can see everything translate to the football field. A former receiver who switched to CB early in his college career, Rush has great straight-line speed. Watch him chase down the Clemson QB here.
But he’s not a linear player. He has good feet and loose hips to change directions and can plaster in man coverage. Look at this rep. Great one here. Bottom of the screen, LCB.
Rush also does a nice job to get his head around and play the ball in the air. He wasn’t an interception machine in school, just three career picks in two seasons as a full-time starter, but his receiver background helps him understand route trees and find the football. He might pick off more passes at the next level. He’s also uniquely a solid special teamer, still a starting gunner even in 2022 when he started at corner. Watch him down this punt inside the one here.
Rush could be more forceful and impactful as a tackler. But I’d say his biggest issue is in press man. He has a habit of punching with the wrong arm. You’re taught to press with the arm opposite the receiver’s release. If the receiver releases inside, punch with the outside arm/hand and vice versa. That opens your hips. But he’s prone to punching with the wrong hand and he can’t open up, causing him to trail and forcing him to recover.
In the second clip, Rush is not at the bottom at RCB like the arrow points (I didn’t make the arrows). Rush is at the top of the screen in both these clips.
Overall, Rush is an impressive prospect who is an “A” athlete. Though his technique needs some work, he doesn’t have a ton of experience starting at corner and his game should grow. He’s best in more man-heavy schemes. Rush is excellent Day Two value if Steelers don’t take a corner in the first round. My NFL comp for him is Shaquill Griffin.
Projection: Mid-Day Two
Depot Draft Scale: 8.4 – Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)
Games Watched: vs Georgia (2022), at Kentucky (2022), at Clemson (2022), Senior Bowl