Panthers potential 2021 NFL draft targets: Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw

Erik Williams
·2 min read

The Carolina Panthers’ need to upgrade the offensive line continues to gain urgency every week. As much of a beating as he takes, it should not come as a huge shock that Teddy Bridgewater is injured and will likely miss this weekend’s game. His injury is not severe, but this should open Matt Rhule and Marty Hurney’s eyes that they need to protect their $63 million investment.

Starting left tackle Russell Okung needs to be shown the door and Greg Little needs to move inside to guard where he can mask his inefficiencies as a pass protector. If Carolina can get the left tackle situation straightened out, the rest of the line should fall into place. Oregon’s Penei Sewell will likely be gone by the time the Panthers are on the clock, so let’s take a look at another pure left tackle who is rocketing up draft boards right now: Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw.

Profile:

6-foot-5, 315 pounds
Projected 40 yard dash: 4.95 seconds
Darrisaw possesses a tremendous frame: long arms, quick feet, a powerful lower half, and extremely strong hands. He does a splendid job of squaring up his blocks when handling speed rushers and re-positioning his feet to give himself a stable base in his pass sets. Darrisaw has gone up against some of the best edge rushing talent in college football (Duke’s Chris Rumph, Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham, and Miami’s Quincy Roche) and has absolutely stymied every one of them.

Darrisaw still has technicalities to learn in his pass sets, but overall he displays a tremendous understanding of how to use his top-notch athleticism, strength, and fundamentals to eliminate pass rushing threats. It looks like Darrisaw will test very well at the combine and his pro day, so look for him to go inside the top 15 picks.

Highlights:

Darrisaw vs. Boston College

Darrisaw vs. Miami

Darrisaw vs. Wake Forest

How he compares:
Sewell is hands down the best left tackle in this year’s class. However, Darrisaw is the front runner for No. 2. Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield, Texas’ Sam Cosmi, Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater, and Norte Dame’s Liam Eichenburg all have a chance to boost their draft stock. However, given his elite athleticism that NFL coaches will crave, you can probably go ahead and lock in Darrisaw as OT2 in this class.

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