From one perspective, the Green Bay Packers are in good shape at offensive tackle. With All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Billy Turner, Green Bay has one of the better duos in the NFL. However, Bakhtiari is coming off a torn ACL and might not be ready for Week 1 and there is no depth whatsoever with Rick Wagner and Jared Veldheer pondering retirement while in free agency. Remember, last year’s No. 3 tackle, Wagner, played almost 60 percent of the offensive snaps, so there is a need.
Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw is our No. 3-ranked tackle.
Coming out of Riverdale Baptist High School in Maryland, Darrisaw received exactly one scholarship offer from an FBS school.
The recruiting interest was so limited that his primary recruiter at Virginia Tech, receivers coach Holman Wiggins, couldn’t help but question himself for a moment.
“I started to kind of question myself at times,” Wiggins told the Roanoke Times in 2018, when Darrisaw emerged as a freshman starter. “Is no one seeing what I’m seeing? How? It was one of those things where I got to trust my eval and trusting the process. It ended up working out for us.”
Rivredale coach Caesar Nettles couldn’t understand the lack of interest, either, in a three-year varsity starter.
“I’d been singing his praises since his sophomore year,” Nettles said. “He was always competing against four or five FBS level defensive ends or linebackers, so he had really good film. I was kind of shocked by some of the people in the area [not offering]. He really could have benefited a lot of those programs.”
Darrisaw, the No. 1,848-ranked player in his recruiting class, spent 2017 at Fork Union Military Academy. It was brutal. No cellphones were allowed on campus. A sloppy uniform or room would result in a half-hour of marching.
“Is this really for me?” Darrisaw recalled in a story by The Athletic. “Do I really want to do all of this to make it to the next level?”
He stuck it out and was ready mentally and physically for Virginia Tech. In 2018, Darrisaw was one of only nine true freshmen offensive linemen to start in all of FBS. He wound up being a three-year starting left tackle, a second-team All-American in 2020 and a top NFL prospect.
Along with getting ready for the draft, Darrisaw partnered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia.
“Just the capability of giving back and just being supportive to the community who took me in basically, just giving back to the families and helping little kids is something huge for me,” Darrisaw told TV station WDBJ. “My mom’s a teacher, and just working with those little kids and just seeing the life-changing moments, it impacts me and it’s something I want to be a part of.”
Measureables: 6-foot-4 3/4, 322, 34 1/4-inch arms. He only did position drills at his pro day.
Stats and accolades: According to PFF, Darrisaw allowed zero sacks and six total pressures out of 293 pass-protecting snaps in 2020. Sports Info Solutions charged him with one sack and seven blown blocks (four runs, three passes). According to SIS, Virginia Tech gained 110.9 rushing yards per game behind Darrisaw, tops in the draft class. Runs to his gap averaged 3.2 yards before contact.
NFL Draft Bible says: Darrisaw is an exceptionally smooth mover, showing great ability in the inside-outside zone-heavy scheme the Hokies deployed. Working with left guard Lecitus Smith, Darrisaw exceled on combo blocks, routinely gaining leverage and working up to the second level. There is a nasty streak to him, putting a lot of opposing defenders on the ground. In pass protection, Darrisaw is an easy setter, getting to the top of the track without oversetting. He exhibits outstanding patience to stay balanced and firm in pass protection. Despite just average height for the position, Darrisaw has long arms, allowing him to gain extension in both the run and pass game.