Alongside his brother, Dante, Darius Stills makes up a powerful defensive front for the West Virginia Mountaineers. Much like his brother, Darius benefited from a breakout 2019 season in which he saw increased playing time.
As we continue our summer scouting series, in which we take an extended look at some lesser-known prospects, it’s time to once again shift our focus to the Big 12 and look at Darius Stills. In this report, I’ll provide some background on Darius Stills and examine how he found his way to West Virginia. Next, I’ll provide some game film as we look at hi strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we’ll look ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft and attempt to predict where his draft stock will wind up.
Darius Stills was a three-year starter at Fairmont Senior High School in West Virginia. Additionally, he was a Two-Time First-Team AA All-State selection, as well as a Two-Time selection to the USA Today All-West Virginia team. In recruiting, he was ranked as a top ten prospect in the state of West Virginia and a consensus three-star prospect.
Prior to committing to West Virginia University, Darius Stills had originally committed to Rutgers University. Stills enrolled at West Virginia in June of 2017. In his first two seasons at West Virginia, Darius Stills was primarily used as depth and saw little playing time.
The 2019 season was a breakout one for Stills as he started 11 games for the Mountaineers. Alongside his brother, Dante, Darius Stills led West Virginia in tackles for loss and tied with Dante for seven sacks each. In addition to those numbers, Stills also earned All-Big 12 First-Team honors.
Ahead of the 2020 season, Stills was named the Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a Preseason All-American Third-Team. Finally, Darius Stills was also added to the Outland Trophy, Nagurski Trophy, and Bednarik Award preseason watchlists.
What I Like About Darius Stills
As with all of our scouting reports here at NFL Draft Lounge, we like to provide some game film as examples of what each player is capable of. Darius Stills, number 56 for West Virginia, displays the traits of an interior defensive lineman playing on Sundays. For the first game, we travel to Waco for a game against the Baylor Bears.
High Motor Player
To start off, I’m really impressed with the explosion that Stills displays for a player of his size. On this play, he’s able to drive through the center and force the quarterback to step up into the pocket. As Stills circles back around, he remains engaged on the play and brings down the quarterback for a sack on the play.
Versus Outside Runs
As an interior defensive lineman, Stills gets knocked around quite a bit. Below, he’s able to remain balanced despite the double-team. What I want to highlight here is the quickness to spot and attack the ballcarrier after the spin. Finally, he finishes this play off with a solid tackle at the point of attack.
Use of Hands Against Inside Runs
As you will see below, this is a very quick play. However, Stills is able to establish leverage immediately through an aggressive use of hands. In addition to his hands, Stills is able to use his quickness of the line to get an edge on the right guard. Once the leverage is established, Stills is able to drive through the offensive line and bring down the running back before he’s able to hit the gap.
What I Dislike About Darius Stills
As with every prospect, there are two sides to the tape. Down below, I’ve added a few clips that highlight some areas where I’d like to see Darius Stills improve upon his abilities. For the first game, we go back to Waco for the game against the Bears.
Read and Attack Quickness
First off, I know that this is a difficult play for any player to make, especially at the collegiate level. However, I would like to see some effort on this play. I want to see Stills keep his eyes up and on the ball as he penetrates the pocket on this play. Rather, he misses the quarterback climbing the pocket and causes the linebacker to fall.
As you can see from his reaction after the play, Darius Stills knows that he missed a huge opportunity here. He isn’t able to square up the quarterback and whiffs on the tackle in the backfield. At 6’1 and 292 pounds, Stills isn’t the most agile player on the field. However, he has to find ways to improve if he wants to be a consistent player on Sundays.
As I mentioned in the summer scouting report on Dante Stills, available HERE, I truly believe that Darius Stills’ biggest competition is with his brother. Both of these guys are difference makers in the West Virginia front seven. While the 2020 College Football season is up in the air, but will undoubtedly look very different, one of them has to come out on top.
Outside of the West Virginia Mountaineers, Darius Stills has competition in the SEC with Phidarian Mathis at Alabama. Additionally, Stills could find himself in a position battle against a prospect in the PAC-12, such as Jay Tufele from USC or Levi Onwuzurike from Washington, given that those two prospects likely won’t be playing this fall.
In closing, Darius Stills has buildable traits that NFL scouts are looking for. Should we see Big 12 players on the field in 2020, Stills is expected to be one of the top interior defensive lineman on the field. His quickness off the line of scrimmage and use of hands are impressive. With that being said, I’d like to see him read and attack at a quicker pace and improve upon his tackling ability.
I still anticipate seeing Darius Stills coming off the 2021 NFL Draft board in the mid-second to late-third round. Given the situation that we find ourselves in concerning the coronavirus, we could see opinions on prospects across the board, much like we did earlier this year.