Dante Stills NFL Draft Scouting Report
IDL, West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia defensive lineman Dante Stills projects as an undersized pass rusher inside at the NFL level. He’s had a lot of success in a penetration front at West Virginia to challenge the backfield and he could potentially find an opportunity to serve the same kind of role for an NFL team—albeit in a diminished and specialized role.
Originally a 4-star recruit, Stills played his high school football in Fairmont, West Virginia at Fairmont High School. He was a member of the Mountaineers’ 2018 recruiting class and was West Virginia’s No. 1-ranked recruit in the state. He joined the Mountaineers to play alongside his brother, Darius, on the defensive line—a unit they shared together for several seasons.
The first word you have to use to describe him is “tireless.” Stills has a red-hot motor and is relentless in his pursuit to the ball in the front. He’s fairly nimble on the interior but it is his effort that allows him to overcome only marginal flexibility and explosiveness. His stature can make him difficult to get square punches landed on, and that plays into his ability against spread offenses to push for the backfield. He’s been hyper-productive through his career in Morgantown, with two seasons of double-digit tackles for loss and a career total that is top 25 in FBS since 2005 (53.0). He’s been one of the staple players of the program through the Neal Brown transition years and feels like a culture “glue guy” for any team that gets him into the locker room moving forward.
The ability to play and stack at the point of attack isn’t an area in which I have a great deal of confidence when projecting Stills’ game forward to the NFL. He’s effective in a penetration role and has fulfilled that role in the Big 12, but when you consider his athletic profile and functional strength, he might be a bit too much of a tweener for me to feel confident in seeing similar results or sustainable results in the NFL. I wouldn’t charge him with stacking the point of attack or playing on early downs based on his resume. Teams who dare to run right at him would likely generate bubbles on the front if they’re able to apply pressure and secure hands on his frame.
Expectations for Stills should be to see him competing for a rotational role and fighting for a 53-man roster spot. Stills’ defensive opportunities will be limited, but I do see a pathway for him as an undersized interior rusher to fight his way onto a roster that needs youth and bodies up front.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- First-step quickness to penetrate gaps
- Lateral quickness to flatten and pursue the football in the backfield
- Strong finishing ability with 53 career tackles for loss
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Undersized frame to live on the interior on an every-down basis
- Functional strength and block deconstruction skills are not a strength
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 6′ 3 1/2”
Weight: 286 lbs
Arm Length: 32 3/8”
Hand Size: 9 5/8”
Athletic Testing (NFL Combine):
40-yard Dash: 4.85s
Vertical Jump: 28.5”
Broad Jump: 9′ 5”
Bench Reps: 20 reps
Ideal Role: Interior pass rusher
Scheme Fit: Gap penetration front
Prospect Comparison: Darius Stills (2021 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 67.00/100 (Seventh-Round Value)
- Crabbs Grade: 67.00/100
Written By: Kyle Crabbs
Exposures: Pittsburgh (2022), Kansas (2022), Texas (2022), Baylor (2022)
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