According to The Athletic’s Zak Keefer (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts’ interest in prized Virginia Tech offensive tackle prospect Christian Darrisaw ‘is real’ ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft:
“A popular projection: Indianapolis. Mocks have been tapping Darrisaw to the tackle-needy Colts for months, and the team’s interest is real. (Darrisaw says he’s developed a good relationship with the Colts’ East Coast scout, Mike Derice, and has interviewed with the club.)
Now, the Colts’ genuine interest in Darrisaw these days is hardly surprising.
Indianapolis has a huge hole to fill at starting left tackle in the wake of longtime veteran anchor Anthony Castonzo’s earlier offseason retirement.
While Darrisaw hasn’t been widely projected as a Top 10 pick, potentially joining the likes of fellow rookies Oregon’s Penei Sewell and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater in that regard, he’s arguably the 3rd best tackle in a loaded offensive tackle draft class right behind the highly touted pair.
In fact, there’s a good chance he’s not even available for the Colts with the 21st overall pick.
“The 6’5”, 314 pound junior offensive tackle started in all 9 games this past season on the blindside for the Hokies—earning 2020 First-Team All-ACC honors.
He also started all 13 games at left tackle as a sophomore in 2019 and even started as a true freshman for Virginia Tech a season prior.”
Christian Darrisaw grade/rank among P5 tackles in 2020:
PFF Grade – 95.6 (1st)
Run-blocking Grade – 94.5 (1st)
Pass-blocking Grade – 90.8 (1st) pic.twitter.com/iyry9vf6TZ
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 9, 2021
Darrisaw has size, strength, length, and surprisingly quick feet for his sheer stature.
In run blocking, he’s a certified road grader, looking to maul and finish his opponents into the turf—similar to a certain Colts’ All-Pro left offensive guard, who’d be starting alongside him:
“I love to go out there and physically dominate my opponent,” Darrisaw said in a recent draft interview with The Draft Network’s Justin Melo earlier this offseason. “I’m going to whoop your ass up and down the field on every single play. I’m gonna talk about it too (laughs). I’m gonna let you know that you’re getting your ass kicked out here.”
Per Keefer, Darrisaw even alluded to the possibility of tag-teaming with Nelson along the left side of the Colts’ revamped offensive line:
“Playing next to Quenton Nelson,” Darrisaw remarked to Keefer about the dream scenario. “I can’t even imagine what that would be like, man. I’ve been watching his highlights for years — he knows how to finish a guy. He elevates the whole offensive line. He makes everyone’s job easier.”
In pass protection, Darrisaw has the strength to stonewall bull rushers and the lateral quickness, length, and powerful punches to neutralize most edge speed rushers.
He’s also a natural fit in a zone blocking scheme that the Colts deploy—showcasing his ability to move in space and routinely get to the second level of an opposing defense.
Overall, his technique could use some refinement, but the Colts offensive line coaching staff, Chris Strausser and Kevin Mawae, will be adding a potential franchise left tackle, who has the chance to be a ‘plug-and-play’ starter from Week 1 and eventually one of the best starting left tackles in all of football.
Nevertheless, there’s still the big question of whether Darrisaw will even be available for the Colts—with the 21st overall pick.
However, here’s to hoping, and Colts fans keeping their fingers crossed.