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Packers Prospect Primer: Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw

If the Packers want an offensive tackle who could help them right away, but also offers the upside to be an even better player down the road, then look no further than the mountainous Christian Darrisaw.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh
Christian Darrisaw looks every bit the part of a 2021 NFL offensive tackle.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a new series on the Green Bay Packers draft. This is aimed at getting you ready for the 2021 class before Brian Gutkunst and Co. make selections. We take a look at the kinds of players the Packers tend to like at positions of need. That way you’re ready when they make a pick.

The NFL Draft often devolves into an exercise in overthought. Too much off time leads to paralysis by analysis or some other comparable cliche where teams, scouts, and media evaluators decide a prospect isn’t scintillating enough or merely get bored and decide to pick. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we miss the prospects who are right in front of our faces because they’re not sexy to talk about because they’re just really good and that’s that.

Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw shouldn’t be one of those guys. He is really good, earning a 95.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus last season and 90+ grades in pass as well as run blocking. He’s huge at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, and boasts over 1,000 pass-blocking reps as a three-year starter. He boasts length, power, upside, and productivity giving up no sacks or quarterback hits last season per PFF. So why is he not getting more buzz?

If there’s a tackle prospect who would be a no-brainer for the Packers if he fell at 29, it’s Darrisaw. Here’s what to know about him.

Pros

  • Massive, long OT
  • His length is such an asset
  • Controls pass rushers with his upper body power and length
  • Uses his size to his advantage
  • Heavy hands who can keep smaller rushers at bay
  • You worry about guys his size bending at the waist and he’s not that
  • Used him a little more on the move in 2020 and he handled it
  • His base is so strong
  • Will uproot DL in the run game
  • Took a DE for a RIDE on an RPO vs. NC State
  • Powerful hip drive and can snap them to anchor or displace
  • When he anchors, it’s just over for defenders
  • He’s a bully
  • Will just muscle speed rushers past the QB
  • Handled Miami’s edge rushers — they didn’t even put Gregory Rousseau to his side

Cons

  • Lost a speed rush vs. Notre Dame in ‘19 on a major dip/bend
  • Mostly a positional blocker in space
  • Doesn’t do a great job hitting his marks in space
  • Gave up a sack vs. ND that wasn’t really his fault — QB held the ball
  • Wish a guy his size would sustain blocks in the run game a little better
  • It’s not always perfect with his footwork but he’s so big and strong it doesn’t matter much
  • A little heavy-footed, but good luck getting around him
  • Gets away with more holding in college than he will in the pros
  • For a three-year starter they give him a decent amount of help
  • Some whispers about attitude and work ethic
  • Miami’s Quincy Roche got him on a speed rush on the last drive of the game
  • A lot of their scheme caters to his strengths because his first move is so powerful
  • When he has to face counters, his effectiveness drops considerably

Summary

Darrisaw won’t suck. He’s too big, too long, too strong, and too nasty. He’s not a Tyron Smith-level athlete, but he’s flexible, powerful and crafty, with plenty of experience in the ACC. If he gets his body shaped up a little and works on his technique, he has All-Pro potential with his physical traits. He’s not going to ever have great feet to work back inside against counters, but his length and power helps mitigate that issue similar to the way guys like Taylor Moton and Morgan Moses can handle it. He’s a no-doubt starter who can really be special if he stays motivated. He’s not quite the level of athlete to be in that top-10 range, but he’s close.

For the Packers, you pair Darrisaw with David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins for a core that would be as good as any in football. He’s the kind of powerful blocker with nimble enough feet to fit LaFleur’s run schemes as well as the size and length to handle pass rushers 1-on-1. He may be a pipe dream at 29, but what a beautiful dream it would be.