Discussion in 'Draft Day Zone' started by Hostile, Apr 22, 2005.
From New England
Cardinals select...Darryl Blackstock, OLB, Virginia
Darryl Blackstock, OLB, Virginia
Height: 6:03.5 Weight: 241
Overview: Darryl Blackstock was an All-State and All-Region defensive end as a senior at Heritage (Newport News, Va.) High, earning All-District honors as a tight end. He recorded 12 sacks as a junior and 29 in his senior season, when the team compiled a 14-0 record. Blackstock picked up District Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2000 and was given a five-star rating (highest) by Max Emfinger's recruiting service. He gained nearly 1,000 yards receiving as a tight end during his career. Due to academics, Blackstock attended Fork Union Military Academy in 2001, where he registered 22 sacks. He transferred to Virginia in 2002 and moved into the starting lineup at weak-side linebacker in the team's second game. Blackstock was named College Football News National Defensive Freshman of the Year as he set school freshman single- season records with 10 sacks and 14 stops for losses. That was part of a career-high 107 tackles (66 solo) with 20 pressures, an interception and four pass deflections. Blackstock picked up All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention in 2003. He started every game, but his production dropped some with 85 tackles (50 solo), six sacks, 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, 23 pressures and two fumble recoveries. In 2004, he followed with second-team All-ACC honors, ranking seventh in the nation with 11 sacks. His production continued to drop as he managed only 43 tackles (27 solo), but 14 of those hits were for losses. In 39 Cavalier games, Blackstock started 38 times. He recorded 237 tackles (143 solo) with 27 sacks for minus-146 yards, 42.5 stops for losses of 199 yards and 46 quarterback pressures. His 27 career sacks are an Atlantic Coast Conference career record for a linebacker. Only Chris Slade (40, 1989-92) produced more at Virginia. His 42.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage are topped only by Slade (56) and Mike Frederick (50, 1991-94) in Cavaliers history. He also recovered four fumbles, caused two others, intercepted a pass and deflected eight others.
Analysis: PositivesBlackstock is a fine pass rusher who has made steady progress improving his run defense skills. He has great straight-ahead quickness and works hard down the line. He displays balance and agility pursuing sideline-to-sideline. Blackstock has good explosion off the snap and excels when given a clear lane to make plays from the backside or flush the quarterback out of the pocket. His initial burst allows him to slip past slower offensive linemen to race uncontested into the backfield. He also shows very good snap anticipation to get a quick jump on the ball. Blackstock stays on his feet when working near the pile, but if he fails to use his hands he can be washed out of the play. He is still developing physically. The way tackle Logan Mankins (Fresno State) devoured him in the 2004 MPC Bowl hopefully will convince Blackstock that he not only needs to add bulk, but also greatly improve his strength. He has to explode out of his stance in order to beat the offensive lineman, as he does not generate enough upper body torque and power to stun, shock and push the blockers back. Still, this is a player who will perform until the whistle and you never see his motor quit. He is an athletic open field tackler who can run with backs and tight ends in the short area. At this time, he is a work in progress when asked to defend vs. the pass. His marginal hip snap prevents him from changing direction quickly and he must gather himself coming out of breaks. This results in over-pursuit in order to compensate. He does have that straight-line burst to plug the rush lanes and string plays out. Where he is becoming very effective is when he gives the ball carriers a chase through the backfield. Blackstock appears to be lost in zone coverage, as he will bite on fakes and play action and does a poor job of keeping eye contact on the ball and receiver when covering deep. He needs to gather himself coming out of his backpedal and his long limbs make him look stiff trying to get through transition. Blackstock does not get good depth in his pass drops and fails to maintain a good mirror on the receivers once they slip on past him. He does a decent job with his hands to keep blockers off his feet, but does not have the power to stack and control. Blackstock often gets washed out of plays against double teams due to marginal leg strength. He will struggle against the bigger blockers when trying to work in-line, as he is somewhat slow to get his hands up, leaving his chest exposed. Blackstock has a quick inside gap charge where he can defeat most defensive ends, but with additional bulk and strength, he can be very dangerous at the next level. Where Blackstock excels is on the blitz and as a pass rusher. There is no other linebacker in the country with the sudden burst and effective pass rush moves (rip, swim, club, hump) that he displays. He shows excellent timing coming off the edge and a burst to almost instantly close on the quarterback. He stays on his feet in pursuit and has developed nice counter moves to slip past blockers. His exceptional speed coming off the corner's edge is the reason he has been so successful in getting to the quarterback on a regular basis. I feel that he is best suited for a 3-4 defense, where he can use his leverage and hitting ability to target the quarterback. He is not a run stuffer the caliber of Pittsburgh's Joey Porter, but has better pass rush technique. He might have been better off staying in school another year, as his body still needs to mature. But family issues (he has a child) dictated that he leave school now. He will probably go in the first two rounds of the draft. But he is still a work in progress who might be just a situational pass rusher until he can improve upon his pass defense skills.
Agility tests: 4.66 in the 40-yard dash...340-pound bench press...505-pound squat...32.5-inch vertical jump...33-inch arm length...9 -inch hands.
High school: Attended Heritage (Newport News, Va.) High School, playing football for coach John Quillen. ... Led Heritage to the state championship in his senior year as he recorded 29 sacks that season for a team that compiled a 14-0 record. ... Group AAA first-team All-State and District Defensive Player of the Year, adding first-team All-Region honors as a defensive end and second-team All-Region accolades as a tight end in his final season. ... Also chosen All-District at tight end and defensive end in 2000. ... Registered 12 sacks during his junior year, earning second-team All-District honors that season at tight end. ... Gained nearly 1000 receiving yards in his career at tight end. ... Rated the eighth-best player in Virginia by the Roanoke Times and ranked #14 as a defensive lineman by the ACC Area Sports Journal for the ACC area. ... Was a five-star player by MaxEmfingerRecruiting.com.
Personal: General Studies major. ... Son of Linda Williams. ... Single, has a child. ... Born Darryl Tyger Blackstock on 5/30/83 in Georgia. ... Resides in Newport News, Virginia.
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