Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw earned the opportunity to start for the Hokies as a true freshman and did nothing but improve for three seasons, developing into a dominant blocker in 2020. From a size, length, and mobility standpoint, Darrisaw firmly checks the boxes and should immediately become an asset to an NFL franchise in pass protection, outside zone runs, and utilizing his exceptional ability to pull and connect with moving targets in space. Like most young offensive linemen, Darrisaw has room to add functional strength to improve his overall power at the point of attack, but it’s far from a deficiency that is of major concern. The amount of technical growth Darrisaw has demonstrated throughout the course of his career is exciting when considering his starting point for the next level and how he peaked at the perfect time. It shouldn’t take long for Darrisaw to earn a starting role in the NFL and he has the upside to become a standout, franchise left tackle.
Ideal Role: Starting left tackle
Scheme Fit: Zone run scheme
Written by Joe Marino
Games watched: Virginia (2019), Notre Dame (2019), Boston College (2020), Miami (2020), Clemson (2020), Wake Forest (2020).
Best Game Studied: Wake Forest (2020)
Worst Game Studied: Virginia (2019)
Balance: Darrisaw generally plays with terrific control of his frame, showcasing the ability to remain balanced when sliding laterally, absorbing contact, and working in space. With that said, there are some instances in pass protection when the rusher is able to soften his outside edge and Darrisaw becomes top-heavy, folding at the waist and lunging when working to recover. Outside of those moments, Darrisaw plays with leveraged hips, bent knees, and within himself. His growth in this area when comparing 2019 to 2020 film is notable.
Pass Sets: Darrisaw demonstrates fluid footwork into his kickslide and normally reaches his set points on schedule with no issues. With that said, there are some occasions where he can be a touch tardy with his feet when threatened with speed and flexibility that can challenge his outside hip that will force his roadblock to be late. Darrisaw is an effective quick setter and has the movement skills, power, and length to master vertical sets.
Competitive Toughness: Darrisaw’s motor never stops. He is constantly looking for work and is supremely aggressive competing down the field to his blocks in space. I love his enthusiasm when he has an advantageous angle to widen rush lanes and take his opponent for a ride. There’s no doubt he executes with an edge.
Lateral Mobility: Darrisaw’s range and ability to work laterally will be a major asset to zone runs. He has the ability to hinge, pivot, and slide laterally with ease. Darrisaw does well to take away the B-gap from edge rushers who threaten with an inside move.
Length: Darrisaw blends terrific mobility with ideal length, which makes it difficult for rushers to beat him around the arc. He generally does well to keep rushers at the end of his reach and move them beyond the peak of the pocket. There are some instances where opponents have been able to get into his framework in the run game where he needs to activate, place, and locate his hands more effectively to take advantage of his length.
Football IQ: Darrisaw’s ability to start as a true freshman and improve every season at Virginia Tech speaks to his football intelligence. He has a clear understanding of his responsibilities and how they impact the play concept while showing accurate responses to pressure packages. He was only called for one penalty in 2020 after just two in 2019.
Hand Technique: Darrisaw has impressive flashes with his hands where he stuns his opponent with terrific power, timing, and placement. He consistently battles to fit his hands, rarely becoming grabby or working outside the framework of his opponent. He illustrates good strike variance in pass protection and his post hand is strong.
Anchor Ability: Darrisaw’s opponents won’t have much success trying to rush through him. Darrisaw maximizes his functional strength and plays with consistently leveraged hips that he knows how to unlock. I love his ability to drop a late anchor when necessary to take back control of reps and recover when challenged with a bull rush.
Power at P.O.A.: Darrisaw has sufficient power at the point of attack and he creates considerable movement in the run game when he’s able to take advantage of angles, unlock his hips, place his hands and accelerate his feet. There are exciting reps where he has to hook and pin his man on outside runs where his blend of power, mobility, and length can be devastating. With that said, he has room to add functional strength to make him more successful as a drive blocker to uproot defenders out of their gap.
Versatility: Darrisaw has three seasons of starting experience at left tackle and no game experience at any other spot. His skill set would be maximized in a zone blocking run scheme and isn’t likely to be coveted by man/power run teams. Darrisaw should be an asset to his offense in the run game, pass game, and blocking in space.
Prospect Comparison: Jake Matthews (2014 NFL Draft, Atlanta Falcons)
TDN Consensus: 87.50/100
Joe Marino: 88.00/100
Kyle Crabbs: 85.50/100
Jordan Reid: 88.50/100
Drae Harris: 88.00/100