Position Ranking: #2
Strengths: Dareus played in a diverse defensive scheme and adds versatility as either a defensive tackle, nose tackle, or defensive end. Shows very good footwork for a man his size; moves well in short areas. Nimble. Has the strength to anchor consistently at the point of attack and force double teams in run support. Deceptive quickness off the edge in his pass rush; footwork allows him to flatten down smoothly when he wins the corner. Able to keep outside arm extended and contain the edge on outside runs, forcing the play inside or too deep to the sideline.
Flashes very good suddenness off the snap to penetrate or push the pocket from both the end and tackle position. Stays focused and has good enough instincts to read blocks and find the ball. Showed he could drop into underneath coverage and gets settled quickly to make a play in his area. Uses long arms and wingspan to disrupt throwing lanes and bat down passes.
Needs Improvement: Doesn’t play with much technique consistency or commitment. Comes off the ball too high too often; allows defenders to get inside his pads and drive him off the ball. Doesn’t show a mean streak or play very aggressive on many snaps- goes through the motions. At times he chose not to give a strong pass rush. Loses strength and quickness when having to release laterally.
Bottom Line: There is no denying Dareus’ athletic ability when considering his overall size. He has a massive lower body and flashes power when he’s able to bend, drop his pads, and explode off his release. When his technique is on Dareus will remind you of a young Marcus Stroud ( 3-time Pro Bowler), but more often than not his release is too high and it diminishes his strength, allowing lineman to win leverage and push Dareus out of the box.
On occasion he would flash strong upper body technique (clubs, rips, swims, inside punch) but then on others he would go entire games with no technique. Marcell’s combination of size and athleticism will surely get him drafted early, but in order for his skills to translate it will be important for him to embrace NFL coaching and work to consistently apply technique.
Draft Projection: 1st round.