NAME: Lukas Denis
SCHOOL: Boston College
JERSEY: No. 21
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 185 lbs
Tied for second nationally with seven interceptions to go wutg ten pass breakups during the 2017 season, Denis is a true ball magnet on the backend. He illustrates natural ball tracking skills, takes precise angles to the ball and knows how to play through the receivers hands to disrupt at the catch point. And when opportunities are presented to secure an interception, Denis has reliable hands to haul in game-changing turnovers. The NFL covets defensive backs that make game-changing plays on the ball and Denis delivers in that department.
Denis thrives in deep and split zones where his awareness and range are accentuated. He projects as a true centerfielder that plays over top of the coverage. He offers some appeal, situationally, in man coverage but can be bullied by bigger slots and tight ends if tasked with carrying them alone into space which does make him a matchup-specific option.
The appeal loses its allure with Denis when considering his suspect tackling ability and shortcomings in run support. He doesn’t process the run quickly or take good paths to the football. His contact power is below average and he can be bullied by physical receivers and tight ends. There are times that Denis appears the be a reluctant tackler and prefers to side step and drag down the ball carrier when forced to make a tackle.
While it’s easy to love what Denis can do in zone coverage and playing the ball, a more complete skill set on display in his senior season is critical for his draft stock. As part of an experienced Eagles defense, Denis has a prime opportunity to showcase a more versatile and compete skill set during his senior season.
Coverage Spacing –Typically disciplined in overhead role to slide and stay in a position to handle overthrown passes. Ability to pass off without spacing issues was a problem in several games this season, was late to anticipate breaks and caught flat footed.
Acceleration –Very quick in the open field. Will drive towards a target with high speed and notable quickness in the first few steps. Offers some notable range on the back end when playing deep coverage to close throwing windows.
Tackling –Frantic as the last line of defense. Doesn’t provide a lot of pop in his pads and doesn’t break down in head up situations, instead looks to grab, wrap and roll in an effort to avoid putting his frame between a ball carrier and the end zone.
Zone Coverage Skills –Had great ball production in 2017 and although finishes were absent in 2018 still has a good sense of timing to arrive to the football when he’s challenged by passes. Short area quickness will let him thrive vs. quick game and deep range to play contain role.
Ball Skills –Found the football a whole bunch in 2018, although appeared more hesitant in overhead coverage this past year. Sure handed and does well to convert balls on his hands into turnovers for the defense. Takes good, aggressive angles in off coverage to meet the ball.
Competitive Toughness –Passive. Doesn’t like to step into contact and prefers to play as a contain defender overhead. Doesn’t appear to trust his pads and lunges at tackle attempts rather than stepping into contact. Does not offer a lot of value in run support.
Flexibility –Free mover, has ample mobility in the lower half to start and stop with ease and pick his way through traffic. Feet have plenty of range to catch momentum and pivot in another direction as needed in coverage.
Feet/Change of Direction –Natural athleticism is apparent in space when tasked with sliding, backpedaling or driving on targets. Feet are quick and smooth regardless of angle, momentum or needed burst in a different direction. Offers ceiling as a single high defender.
Man Coverage Skills –Does not have the physicality to bump with receivers and tight ends in turn and run coverage situations, too much of a finesse player. Does possess the feet and transitional quickness required to develop into a reliable defender vs. the slot.
Versatility –Is not going to serve as a swiss army knife type of player and is pretty boxed into a role as a deep safety. Lack of tackling skills and functional strength will limit his ability to drop down into the box and effectively handle assignments of any kind.
BEST TRAIT – Feet/COD
WORST TRAIT – Competitive Toughness
BEST FILM – Massachusetts (2018)
WORST FILM – Clemson (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Lukas Denis has desirable movement skills for the NFL and flashes some high quality ball skills while the ball is in the air. With that said, there are notable holes that make it difficult to forecast Denis into a starting role. First and foremost his size is restrictive to playing with any level of physicality. Denis is passive at contact and can be uprooted from his landmarks in coverage by physical receivers. Denis has the movement skills to have a role but would be a limited starting player.