Senior, 6’2 203
- Great ball skills being able to jump routes and win 50/50 balls. Eight interceptions in 2016.
- Technique tackler but needs to show more consistency in willingness in the run game
- Shows some promise as an outside blitzer
- Special teams experience
- Has great length for the position
- Worked from a man Cover 0 scheme at West Virginia
- First Team All-Big 12
- Senior Bowl participant
Growing up with six siblings, raised by his grandmother, and in a rough area of New Jersey, Rasul Douglas has fought and battled through a lot during his life. Transitioning to the NFL should be easy for him then, right? (Check out more of his background from Jake Trotter’s piece on ESPN.com) Douglas began his football career at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, and after redshirting his first season Douglas became an all-star at cornerback. In two seasons at Nassau, Douglas had 83 tackles (60 solo), 18 pass breakups, 7.5 tackles for loss and five interceptions. His efforts placed him on the NJCCA All-American team followed by an offer from West Virginia.
He contributed immediately when first arriving in Morgantown seeing time at cornerback and on special teams in 11 games in 2015. Somewhat of an unknown commodity heading into the 2016 season, Douglas is one of the biggest risers on the draft boards this year. His stature and length provide him with good enough ball skills to lead the country in interceptions with eight returning one for a score. Douglas finished the season with 70 total tackles (49 solo), eight pass breakups, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. The senior was named an all-conference performer by the Big 12.
Douglas sports a long and lean frame with plenty of room left to grow in his 21-year-old body. His length is intriguing to most evaluators as he measures just under 6-foot-3 with long arms to constantly threaten for a pass breakup or locking up a receiver at the line of scrimmage. Playing mostly man at West Virginia, his length was very helpful when battling on an island. Complementing with his attractive frame, Douglas shows to have great closing speed beginning with elite acceleration.
Even though he does not make the tackle to prevent the touchdown, he almost runs down Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook fron behind with a 10-yard gap to begin with.
In this game he struggled to get off blocks as displayed here but Rasul Douglas can fly. Almost catches Dede after falling 10 yards behind pic.twitter.com/6Lf0F4BSCw
— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) January 13, 2017
As already briefly touched on, Douglas has ball skills of a receiver. His long arms battle every ball within his radius as he has the ability to snag balls from receivers with aggression and concentration. Douglas’ physicality at the line and in coverage help him stay on par with receivers as I rarely noted him getting beat or burned when playing in a Cover 0 format.
His ball skills can be shown in a few GIFs here…
Lining up mostly on the left outside cornerback position on defense, I would like to see more consistency in maintaining outside leverage in the run game. Douglas shows the aggression and physicality in the passing game and when in coverage but doesn’t consistently show that grit when block shedding in the run game. Though he shows athleticism at the position, he can get crossed up by double moves and lose containment on receivers known for their short area quickness.
(ACC Digital Network)
Douglas’ length, speed and ball skills alone will get him drafted, at worst, at the end of Day Two. Playing as an outside man cover corner at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds makes him an attractive asset in a press scheme in the NFL. Douglas can refine his tackling in some areas but his consistency to make stops in the open field is better than most of the other highly regarded cornerbacks in this class. West Virginia puts an extreme amount of pressure on its cornerbacks in its defensive scheme and Douglas answered the call with an all-star season and that will not go unnoticed.
Player Comparison: David Amerson
Amerson boasted plenty of ball skills and length coming out of North Carolina State and lacked some discipline in the run game. Sound familiar? Douglas, though, does have more experience and consistency in one-on-one man coverage than Amerson does.
Round Grade/Value: Second Round
Best Fit Scheme/Role: Outside Man Coverage
Draft Projection: late second to early third round