Positives: Good size, impressive strength and athleticism for a man his size. He anchors very well versus the run and has starting experience at DE in a 3-4 defensive scheme which is where I think he will fit best on the next level, though I think he could be a very good starter at DT in a 4-3 as well. He has very good hand usage, he sheds blocks very well, and he stands up well to double teams because of his strong lower body and good leverage. He is quick off the ball for a man his size but he does a good job of keeping contain and was clearly well coached not to get too far up-field and negate his assignments on any given play. He shows a pretty good motor though he doesn’t always pursue as well from the backside as I would like. He can collapse the pocket from the DE spot or from the DT position thanks to his good bull rush and his swim/rip moves. He is very consistent and while he may not be flashy he always gets the job done, and should be a very stable commodity in the NFL.
Negatives: Didn’t have incredible production on Alabama, probably because there was so much talent around him for his tenure there. He shows ability as a pass rusher but if his initial move does not work he has really no secondary pass rush moves to slip blocks and continue his pursuit of the quarterback. Often when he is blocked as a pass rusher he will simply wait for the quarterback to get flushed and then chase after him, but you’d like to see him keep fighting to be one of the players to flush him out. Dareus does not have ideal size to play at 3-4 DE in the NFL, but I think he could still play the position very effectively despite not being a 6’5”, 330 pound player. As I said before, Dareus doesn’t have a great motor but it is better than a lot of defensive tackle prospects.
Overall: Dareus may not be the flashy, dominating type of player that Nick Fairley is but when you watch him play you know you are going to get a very fundamentally sound player if you draft him. He may not get 8+ sacks a year at DE or DT (depending on the scheme he is drafted into) but he will defend the run well, stand up to double teams effectively and shed blocks consistently. He will immediately improve any defensive line and while he might not be ready to start from day one I do think he can start and contribute effectively as a rookie regardless of which scheme he is drafted to play in. A lot of people overlooked Dareus this year as Fairley emerged and continued to dominate, but they forgot about how good of a player Dareus has been at Alabama.
Projection: Top 5. For a while I thought Dareus might last to #9 and Dallas might get a steal, but after his combine performance all doubt should be removed about Dareus’ ability. If he makes it out of the top five it would be a travesty, but I’m sure the Browns wouldn’t mind.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point Of Attack: 4.5
Pass Rush: 3.5
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