There is an old saying in the NFL: "The game is won or lost in the trenches" -- the trenches being the offensive and defensive line.
While all the other positions perhaps are more glamorous, nothing is more important to an offense than the offensive line.
A team could have the best quarterback, running back, tight end and receivers. But, without a good offensive line, it could all amount to nothing. A good offensive line is the equivalence to a motor in a car.
It is for that reason teams clamor every year for those who have shown they have what it takes, which leads us to looking at Virginia Tech left tackle Christian Darrisaw.
While Detroit has Taylor Decker penciled in at the position right now, there is always the possibility the new regime may want to go in another direction - especially if it would be a considerable upgrade.
From my film studies of both Decker and Darrisaw, this would be the case. It will all come down to whether or not the new regime wants to make a change.
The Last Word on Sports had this to say about Darrisaw:
"He came into his junior season as one of the the most well-established tackles in the ACC and in the nation. Despite the continuing struggles of the Hookies offense, Darrisaw played stellar in his third year as a starter. Through the 11 games in 2020, Darrisaw only allowed six pressures and no sacks. He finished the 2020 college football season with a 95.6% overall grade by Pro Football Focus."
When I looked at Darrisaw on film, it was easy to see what the statistics were indicating.
However, there are also a couple areas of glaring concern that consistently showed up through the four games I viewed (2020 vs. Boston College, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Miami).
LT Christian Darrisaw - 6-foot-5, 313 pounds (projected 40-time of 4.95, per USA Today's Panthers Wire)
Kelly's draft board: First round (No. 15-32 overall)
Extremely athletic left tackle with long-looking arms and brute power and physical playing strength, with an inconsistent motor. Declared as a junior. Tends to stay off the ground. Sometimes gives up on blocks too soon -- both in pass pro and run blocking. Once in a while, a "flash-fire" temper comes out, and he will blow someone up.
Looks good setting up pre-snap, with his left foot kicked outside. Looks alert and poised to protect. Quickly slides into position on the outskirts of the perimeter. Decent hand placement at the point of attack. Hard to beat once he gets his powerful and strong hands on the opponent. Fighter. Slides and maintains most of the time, but does show a strong, glaring tendency to stop moving his feet toward the backdoor of the pocket, to then bend his waist and start losing control. Speed rushers with power could be a real issue in these situations at the next level. Another concern was in all four games, he allowed one quarterback hit, after release on blitzes coming from his area of responsibility.
Strong-at-the-point run-blocker who often sustains and controls just long enough. Position and leverage blocks to seal the lanes. Did show tendency to sometimes give up on a block too soon. Incredible in space. Excellent at second level -- way downfield -- and at pulling. Rare athletic and blocking ability in space. Looked graceful moving around. Flashes extreme aggression and physicality (especially against smaller players).
Darrisaw, overall, is a physical specimen, with the rare combination of pure power and athleticism.
The three main consistent concerns are his footwork at the back door in pass pro, blitzes off his edge and when he has a letdown and gives up on a block too quickly.
These three negatives could cause noticeable issues at the next level. However, they do not overshadow all the things he does at a very high level.
He projects to be a starter in the NFL for the next five-10 years, and will get the job done a high percentage of the time.
Would Darrisaw make Detroit better? Yes, he would.
He has elite athletic ability, and he is the No. 2 left tackle on my board behind Rashawn Slater -- as I am projecting Penei Sewell to play at left guard in the NFL.
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