NAME: Demarcus Christmas
SCHOOL: Florida State
POSITION: Defensive Tackle
CLASS: RS Senior
JERSEY: No. 90
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 309 lbs
Starting 26 games across the last two seasons, Christmas tallied 57 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three sacks. But don’t let his modest production fool you, Christmas is a quality defensive tackle that offers excellent power at the point of attack.
Entering year three as a starter for the Noles, Christmas is expected to anchor the defensive interior for the first time without Derek Nnadi. The most notable strength of Christmas’ is how stout his anchor is. Difficult to move out of his gap, Christmas offers outstanding play strength and physicality. He is aggressive with his hands to initiate first contact to control reps initially.
As evidenced by his modest production, Christmas needs to become more refined in his ability to disengage blocks. Despite stacking blocks and often resetting the line of scrimmage, shedding blocks to finish plays is an area that needs improvement.
As a pass rusher, Christmas does have the ability to convert speed to power and walk back interior blockers but he lacks the juice, hand technique and flexibility to project as an impact pass rusher in the NFL.
Christmas is ready to defend the run in the NFL, but showcasing a far more dynamic pass rushing skill set in his final year is critical to his draft stock.
Competitive Toughness –Has some lapses in effort, either when initially uprooted at the point of attack or when the football goes away from his alignment. Functional strength, however, it terrific and allows him to squat in the blocks and hold ground with consistency.
Two Gap Ability –Wide frame and low center of gravity shine when looking to stuff up the interior and force offensive blocking schemes to account for him. Provides his linebackers with a lot of free flow and clear pathways in scraping over the top of plays.
Gap Penetration Skills –Consistency in gap penetration is non-existent, no rhyme or reason to when and how he is able to push through gaps relative to other occasions. Usage as an attack player does take him away from his natural strengths and is something best reserved for limited circumstances.
Tackling –Hasn’t been tasked with being a finisher in the backfield but should be considered a black hole in the middle by opposing offenses running into his grasp. Thick frame and enough mobility to swallow up anything ran into his immediate gap if uncovered.
Flexibility –Has some modest bend and drop in the hips to anchor effectively when eating up blocks on the interior. Flashes of torso tilt when trying to carry speed in redirection reps and when in pursuit of the football in the backfield.
Pass Rush Counters –Does not showcase any notable hand counters, other than the occasional arm over. Capable of pushing the pocket against deeper pass sets when allowed to build some momentum and charge the pocket hard. Not likely to see a lot of third down reps.
First Step Quickness –Modest burst, has caught some OL by surprise with his efforts to drive out of his stance and attack the backfield. Shouldn’t be regarded as a lethargic player and can make a splash play with penetration when gifted alignments in the gap and able to drive forward at the snap.
Feet/Change Of Direction –Has some dancing bear in him, isn’t lethargic or stiff when looking to get width or transition in pursuit. Has some mobility that can create influence inside the hashes but isn’t explosive in such instances and requires space to make corners and turns.
Versatility –Functional athleticism would suggest there may be room for additional growth but limitation of length is hard to overcome, given total body of work. Should be considered a nose tackle, one who can play the early downs before giving way to more potent pass rushers on money downs.
BEST TRAIT – Two Gap Ability
WORST TRAIT – Length
BEST FILM – Alabama (2017)
WORST FILM – Virginia Tech (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Demarcus Christmas will have a role to play in the NFL, given his stout frame and his ability to hold ground against high traffic in the interior. That said, his role will be limited, which tempers his draft value and should push him down draft boards. Christmas will project best as a rotational defender on the interior who can help boost a team’s efforts against the run. If pressed into action as a starter, could be a short-term solution.