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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: IDL Darius Stills

  • The Draft Network
  • December 31, 2020
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Darius Stills is a quick mover off of the snap. He uses his natural leverage to his advantage by remaining low, which helps him win quickly in a multitude of ways. Having overwhelming hand strength/power at the point of attack, he plays very aggressively and isn’t shy with using them quickly. Few match his suddenness and play violence off of the line, which are the main culprits of how he experiences so much success. A consistent pressure generator, he can disrupt pockets with straight ahead rushing attacks or get home on twists/stunts as the looper. A motor that constantly runs hot, even as an interior rusher, he has outside of the tackle box type of range in ball pursuit when chasing plays down. He is very undisciplined in his approach as a run defender. He will do many outlandish moves in order to create penetration, but in turn it leaves his gap voided for gaping running lanes for ball-carriers. Stills is a true up-the-field penetrator that doesn’t yet understand the meaning/discipline behind run fits. As a pass rusher, he’s developed the habit of winning so quickly that when faced with blockers who can match his intensity/strength, he lacks an effective counter move. As a result, he often gets stuck and left experimenting with tactics to see which eventually become effective for him in that moment.

Ideal Role: Rotational 3-technique that could develop into a starter.

Scheme Fit: Used mostly as a penetrating 3-technique that’s able to create vertical push and disruption.


Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Oklahoma State (2020), Baylor (2020), Texas Tech (2020), Texas (2020)

Best Game Studied: Baylor (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Texas (2020)

First-Step Explosiveness: Quick and urgent as soon as the ball is snapped, Stills shows an adequate first step combined with already having natural leverage. Tight roping the fine line of being a snap-jumper mixed with instant acceleration as soon as the ball is snapped, Stills is able to get a quick beat on blockers because of his ability to explode out of the starting blocks. He takes pride in being the first off of the ball as he wants to maintain that advantage. 

Flexibility: Much of Stills’ flexibility can be seen during twist/stunt games up front. Predominantly used as the looper, he’s able to work around the attention that the crasher garners on blockers. Also seen in his run defense, he can keep his shoulders square, which enables him to slip through small cracks to create penetration in the backfield.  

Hand Counters: Stills displays a wide variety of answers to original moves executed by blockers and he has lots of hand maturity. His maturation is evident when hands are able to get inside of his frame. He’s consistently able to readjust by fighting for leverage and winning hand positionings. Having counters as both a pass rusher and run defender, he incorporates a lot of similar techniques in both areas. 

Hand Power: With plenty of pop in his hands, he has an above-average mixture of athleticism and strength throughout his upper half. While not exhibiting his power often, when he wants to duck his head into the chest of the opposition in order to push them back, he has the strength necessary in order to condense the pocket.  

Run Defending: With well-above-average short-area quickness, he’s able to beat blocks in a multitude of ways. Slipping around them has been a recurring turnout, as he has the nimbleness to move in any direction. While he experiences challenges with standing his ground and holding firm at the point of attack, he wins with up-the-field penetration and creating chaos before interior blockers are even able to cleanly land hands on him. 

Effort/Motor: Stills plays with endless amounts of energy throughout games. His effort levels are infectious throughout the group as he continues to constantly rally to the ball no matter the situation in games. His range as a run defender stretches to far parameters, as his ball pursuit has helped him chase down plays from the backside. Stills is a prospect whose effort and "want to" will hardly ever be questioned because of his instincts of wanting to somehow be involved in every play.

Football IQ: Possessing high levels of football smarts, he has an understanding of the areas that run concepts are attempting to attack. Stills must improve his patience when diagnosing plays, as he constantly takes himself out of them by overrunning or getting too far up the field. 

Lateral Mobility: Stills opts to win with athleticism and it can often get him in trouble. Overrunning plays and taking himself out of them have been seen because of his aggressiveness and athleticism with getting up the field so quickly. Shoulder alignment and eye discipline have been average, but he has the awareness to remain flat down the line during exterior running concepts. He can keep his frame square, run down the line, and make tackles.  

Core/Functional Strength: Taking on and winning versus double teams have been hit or miss with him and it’s an area where his lack of size comes into play. More comfortable with an up-the-field nature, Stills faces uphill battles when asked to anchor in gaps. Needing to add strength in his lower half, he must also continue to be placed in advantageous situations where he can be a gap shooter instead of a gap clogger.

Versatility: His value is strictly as a 3-technique. With length and strength limitations along the interior, he has struggled with playing roles outside of being a one-gap penetrator. The former Mountaineer interior defender can be flexed out in subpackages, but only if he’s brought back inside as a looper, as he doesn’t have the bend to win the corner. 

Prospect Comparison: Sheldon Day (2016 NFL Draft, Jacksonville Jaguars)


TDN Consensus: 68.75/100

Joe Marino: 66.50/100

Kyle Crabbs: 69.50/100

Jordan Reid: 71.00/100

Drae Harris: 68.00/100

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