As the NFL Draft makes its way ever closer, the Steelers32 writing team continues to afflict their 20 prospects into reader’s brains. Today the focus is on another lengthy corner back that could make a nice pairing with Artie Burns on the outside.
While looking at corner back prospects the Steelers have brought in for their official pre-draft visits, one thing stands out; size. Obviously, not just height; arm length and strength have also been prominent. West Virginia corner back, Rasul Douglas may not have pure strength; his arm length and height definitely fit what the Steelers have been looking for.
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Steelers’ 20 prospects in 20 days: Pitt tight end, Scott Orndoff/Jackson State DE or LB, Javancy Jones /Villanova DE, Tanoh Kpassagnon/Colorado S, Tedric Thompson/Syracuse WR, Amba Etta-Tawo/Tennessee QB, Joshua Dobbs/California QB, Davis Webb/UConn S, Obi Melifonwu/A&M WR, Josh Reynolds/A pair of Fighting Illini
Although Douglas has had only one stand-out college season, it was one for the ages and the reason many are looking toward the former Mountaineer during this time before the draft.
Douglas tied for the college lead with eight interceptions during the 2016 season; adding 70 tackles, 3.5 were for a loss. His seasons prior to 2016 went in relative obscurity, ranging from community college to first-team All-Big 12 honors.
Douglas entered the NFL Scouting Combine at a height of 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighing in at a lanky 209 pounds. Douglas’ nearly 32.5-inch arms only put 225 pounds up 16 times during the bench-press; adding a 4.59-second 40-yard dash failed to add to his stock as well.
Much of Douglas’ stock rests upon how highly NFL executives value his great final season at West Virginia. Most assuredly, he had hoped for much better results during the combine and his pro day.
What does the film say?
If fans want to stay excited about Douglas, I suggest staying away from any type of film from the Oklahoma game. Obviously the entire defense looked terrible during that game, yet that would have been Douglas’ chance to show Steelers’ fans what he could do in the snow.
Douglas tends to be slow when transitioning from jamming to trailing receivers. His tall frame makes it tough for him to get going to full speed. Once Douglas reaches full speed, receivers tend to pull away as he just has mediocre speed to begin with.
Although the Oklahoma film is quite damming, Douglas shows his upside against Iowa State. The former Mountaineer shows his ability to press-cover despite his lack of strength in his lengthy arms.
Douglas’ ball-skills are his bread and butter. He may not have the best cover-speed; yet, he continually makes plays on balls thrown his way. The length of his arms will certainly come in handy when dealing with stronger receivers in the NFL.
As Brandon Kring of Still Curtain correctly stated, “His recognition from zone coverage is pro ready.” Is that enough for teams like the Steelers to grab Douglas near his fourth-round draft grade? Add in the young man’s height and length, teams get what seems to be the trend when selecting corner backs.
Douglas has a skill-set with a place in today’s NFL, as long as his career-year at West Virginia is more of a trend that an aberration. As many have said, talent can be taught or worked toward, height and length cannot. Perhaps Douglas has just enough going for him height and length-wise for the Steelers to continue to look his way.
The common consensus among Steelers’ pundits and mock drafts is the Steelers will look at drafting a corner with one of their first two selections. Obviously, many events can and will transpire between now and next weekend.
Should the Steelers draft a corner with one of their first two selections, nothing points towards them staying away from another corner, if the value is right.
For the Steelers to take a chance on Douglas, they will want to wait until the third or fourth round. If the black and gold already selected a corner by that time, they may wait until later to double-up on a position.