Rasul Douglas came to West Virginia University in 2015 and saw limited action as a junior. Backing up future Carolina Panther Daryl Worley, Douglas learned what Tony Gibson liked to do. As a senior, Douglas burst onto the scene. Rasul intercepted 8 passes, the most in the Big 12. He also broke up 8 passes. NFL teams are always looking for long cornerbacks with ball-hawking skills.
What They Are Saying
Douglas has rare size for the position and his 2016 interception total will add to the level of intrigue for NFL teams. There is no doubting Douglas' ability to make plays on the ball when he's in position, but his lack of long speed and closing burst could make his big senior season an anomaly. Douglas is a zone corner with press and trail ability but needs to run a reasonable time at the combine to solidify his draft slotting.
Douglas’ length, speed and ball skills alone will get him drafted, at worst, at the end of Day Two. Playing as an outside man cover corner at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds makes him an attractive asset in a press scheme in the NFL. Douglas can refine his tackling in some areas but his consistency to make stops in the open field is better than most of the other highly regarded cornerbacks in this class. West Virginia puts an extreme amount of pressure on its cornerbacks in its defensive scheme and Douglas answered the call with an all-star season and that will not go unnoticed.
It’s rare to see a corner who is a legit 6-2, over 200 pounds, and still fluid in coverage. Douglas is a rare exception, and his film and performance during Senior Bowl week proved it. He’s big, athletic and productive, and should find a home on Day 2.
Where Rasul Can Really Shine
Posting a mid 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash will help solidify Douglas’ draft stock but where Douglas will really want to shine is in the positional drills. He will need to show off the ball skills he developed as a senior. He will also need to show hip fluidity and the ability to drive to a ball in the air.
One of the better drills to judge a defensive back is the close and speed turn drill. A defensive back is asked to back pedal 3-5 yards before breaking on a hitch route. As the cornerback breaks he then must turn and sprint deep and track the ball in the air. This drill simulates a “hitch-and-go” or double move in the game, something offenses love to bait aggressive cornerbacks with. This drill measures the players ability to move in their backpedal, their speed in both driving to the ball and downfield speed with a ball in the air. Showing good fundamentals and closing speed in this drill is a hallmark of the great corners.
What to Expect
Douglas has drawn comparisons to former Mountaineer Daryl Worley, thanks in part to his long, athletic frame. Douglas hasn’t shown the greatest hip fluidity and will likely struggle with smaller receivers. In the 40-yard dash, I expect Rasul to be close to the top-10 in overall speed but his speed will come from his long legs rather than being overly fast. His first 10 yards will likely be slower than elite but he will make it up in the final 20 yards.