As the NFL Draft gets underway, Darius Stills will be hoping to hear his name called at some point, but that won’t be until Friday (Rounds 2-3) or Saturday (Rounds 4-7). Like many West Virginia players – and many across the college landscape – he hopes that his performance on the field will outweigh concerns about some of his measurables.
The former were prodigious. Stills became the school’s 12th consensus football All-American, earning national first- or second-team honors from nine major outlets. The Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year and Lott Trophy semifinalist played in 43 games and started 21 in his Mountaineer career, recording 85 tackles, including 25.5 for losses, and 11.5 sacks. He also showed his athleticism with a diving downfield interception against Kansas during his senior season.
At his pro day, Stills was measured at 6′ 1″ and 278 pounds – numbers that could affect his draft position for those that look at measurables more than performance. His hand measurement was 8 7/8″ and his wingspan 76 1/2″. He put up 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press, had a vertical jump of 32 1/2″ and a broad jump of 9′ 2″.
He was good in the speed drills, where he ran a 4.98 second 40-yard dash, and had 10-yard and 20-yard splits of 2.81 and 1.71, respectively. His 20-yard shuttle time was 4.49, and his 3-cone drill time was 7.18.
Outlook: While Stills’ play on the field should counter some of the concerns about his size, it is fair to note that his lack of sheer bulk probably makes him a better fit for a one-gap attacking defensive scheme rather than a blocker-eating system. He was credited with just two pass breakups in his career, and will have to work to improve getting his hands up when he can’t get to the quarterback.
Those are fixable issues, though, and in a system that fits his abilities, he could become part of a defensive line rotation as his career progresses. His quick moves out of his stance and aggressive moves, which he maintains throughout the play, are positives that he can build on, and with the addition of more refined rushing techniques, he could forge a solid pro career.