Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw enters the 2021 NFL Draft as one of the top all-around prospects in the class and a bonafide Day-1 starter at left tackle. His tenure on the left side of the Hokies’ offensive line was a display of steady improvement and absolute dominance in 2020.
Darrisaw’s time at Virginia Tech began as a somewhat unheralded two-star recruit out of Riverdale Baptist High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He spent one season at Fork Union Military Academy before kicking off his Va Tech career in 2018. He received only four scholarship offers, including from Morgan State, Central Connecticut State, and North Carolina Central.
Darrisaw immediately jumped into the Hokies’ starting lineup in 2018, earning 12 starts that season. He was named to 247Sports Freshman All-American Team and was an ESPN Mid-Season Freshman All-American. Darrisaw started 13 games in 2019 and nine games in 2020, bringing his total experience as a starter to 34 games. He earned First-Team All-ACC honors in 2020 and was Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded offensive lineman in the country.
Physically, Darrisaw is exactly what NFL teams are looking for in a first-round offensive tackle. At 6-5 and 315 pounds, he has the type of wide and long frame to man the edge of an offensive line. His weight is evenly distributed throughout his body; he isn’t chubby or sloppy. He has a thick and powerful lower-half which serves him well against power players. Darrisaw has enough length (arms) to keep himself clean from oncoming pass-rushers and his upper-body/hand strength is evident when he latches on.
Athletically, Darrisaw moves well for his size, although there are times when he lumbers out of his stance in pass protection. It can leave him a tad vulnerable to speed around the edge, but his length usually makes up for that. He possesses enough quickness to get to the second level and in front of screens and has little trouble changing directions or contorting his frame to get in front of defenders to spring big plays.
Darrisaw is a brick wall in pass protection. He gets out of his stance quickly and fires a strong and accurate punch, which usually stuns oncoming defenders and renders them ineffective. His footwork is clean and coordinated, and he mirrors defenders well enough to make it nearly impossible to navigate around him, even on inside counter moves. He can be vulnerable to speed, although it didn’t happen enough on tape to raise a red flag. He didn’t allow a sack in 2020 and gave up just six pressures all season.
In the running game, Darrisaw is a road-grader who puts defenders on skates, easily pushing them off their mark. At times, it’s laughable. He ‘drives the bus’ with strong hands and active feet that he keeps churning through the rep. In the games I scouted, Virginia Tech’s splash plays in the running game were usually a result of Darrisaw clearing out the second level.
Overall, Darrisaw is a legitimate early first-round pick who will begin his pro career as an immediate starter at left tackle. His experience, combined with his technique and raw physical traits, makes him a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect. He’s worked hard to develop into the player he is right now, which suggests he’ll be an asset in the locker room as a pro’s pro.
GRADE: 8.8 (early first-round pick)