2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: West Virginia CB Rasul Douglas

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Rasul Douglas/CB West Virginia – 6’1/5 209

The Good

– Prototypical size with good length (32 1/4 inch arms)
– Uses length well, contests throws and able to pin receiver to sideline versus outside release, takes away WRs space
– Playmaker, good hands and hand/eye coordination, high level of production despite not playing much D1 football
– Best in press man alignment when he’s able to be physical and the LOS
– Shows some level of physicality on throws over the middle, will throw his shoulder and body into the throw to try and break it up
– Good effort player who chases the ball downfield
– Aggressive in press but knows when to play clean and disengage, didn’t see him penalized much
– Experience playing the field and boundary, also used on blitzes and did well coming off the edge
– Football bloodlines

The Bad

– Lacks long speed, evident on tape and in testing (4.59 at Combine)
– Trouble transitioning, stiff, and struggles to break down in man coverage vs breaking routes, especially comebacks/curls after he’s opened his hips and at full speed
– Appears extremely uncomfortable in off man, isn’t great out of his pedal to close space on underneath throws and allows too much YAC
– An average tackler at best who drops his eye level and isn’t as physical and reliable as his size might suggest
– Struggles to get off stalk blocks in the run game
– Raw, just a one year starter


– 2016: 70 tackles, 8 INT, 1 FF
– Had eight tackles, 1 INT in 2015 with WVU
– Transferred in from JUCO after spending three seasons there, had five interceptions in two years playing (redshirted in 2012), chose WVU over scholarship offers from Florida State and Louisville

Tape Breakdown

In this new-age wave of cornerbacks, guys who would’ve been receivers ten years ago, Douglas fits that bill. At nearly 6’2, 209, he certainly has the look. And the playmaking ability. One of the most impressive things about Douglas is how seamlessly he was able to step into the Mountaineers’ lineup and become – in their coaches’ words – their best defensive player. Only spent two years at WVU, heck, he was at his JUCO for longer, and just one year starting. By 2016, he tied the NCAA lead with eight interceptions.

And they were mostly legitimate ones too. Maybe none as impressive as this, showing off his length to come over the top and break up this slant, pop the ball into the air, and make a diving interception.

When receivers try to release to the outside, he does a nice job of using the sideline to his advantage, pinning them and owning that space. Patrick Mahomes’ go ball is off-target but that’s probably a good thing because only Douglas would’ve had a chance at this one. That helps mitigate his lack of speed.

But unlike a Cordrea Tankersley, Douglas is a pretty average athlete. That’s a killer. Long speed is probably average and he’s stiff. Change of direction ability is not great. At the top of the screen, he completely loses the receiver breaking off his comeback route, unable to change direction in any reasonable time. Tough for him to slow down, sink his hips, flip and break once he gets up to speed.

And in off man…the results aren’t great. Gives up a huge play here because he has trouble transitioning and getting downhill and when he does, he’s late, and the receiver cuts inside, making him miss and goes for another 50 yards.

While Douglas has a lot of impressive characteristics, he’s far behind the likes of other tall corners in Tankersley, Quincy Wilson and Ahkello Witherspoon. He simply isn’t on the same level athletically, he’s much stiffer, that’s the key, and his tackling is about the same or only marginally better.

I still like parts of his game and can definitely see the Steelers being interested in him after those guys are off the board. We’re looking at an early Day Three candidate.

Projection: Early Day Three (early 4th)

Games Watched: at Texas Tech, vs Oklahoma, at Iowa State, vs Miami (FL), Senior Bowl

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Zay JonesJimmie GilbertGlen AntoineTarell BashamDuke Riley
Rayshawn JenkinsChad KellyTrey HendricksonJeremy SprinkleJoe Williams
D’Onta ForemanCarlos WatkinsDamontae KazeeWayne GallmanWillie Quinn
Xavier WoodsElijah HoodMalik McDowellDesmond KingSolomon Thomas
Cordrea TankersleyRaekwon McMillanJosh Harvey-ClemonsChristian McCaffreyChris Carson
Montravius AdamsAaron JonesMack HollinsDeatrich Wise JrAdoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-SchusterJosh JonesDavon GodchauxLorenzo JeromeQuincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatuMike WilliamsAhkello WitherspoonDede WestbrookTedric Thompson
Marcus MayeJoe MixonTaywan TaylorTyson FernandezJarrad Davis
Ishmael ZamoraDaeshon HallCJ BeathardKendell BeckwithJalen Reeves-Maybin

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • srdan

    I really hope he is one of our draft choices. I love the edge he plays with, just looks like takes the jam personally.

  • Brian Tollini

    One of the first players I watched this year, he seems like someone the Steelers would target. I am guessing he will be “overdrafted” because of his size and interception #’s, but I think he could be in the mix for our 3rd round picks.

  • Sam Clonch

    First thought when I saw the top photo was “uh, THAT doesn’t look like very good position for a CB to be in…”
    I get it now.

  • Steelers12

    i hope we get him, Lewis or Elder

  • Steelers12

    yes and we need that to re-route some of these WRs

  • Steelers12


  • Guest12

    Elder I think would be a great later round pick as a double dip

  • Steelers12

    yep a tough slot corner and punt returner

  • AndyR34

    Thanks, Alex…I have been waiting on him. Little bit disappointed, but there appear to be good reasons for his low projections. Tough question – how much, in your opinion, can be fixed by year 3?

  • Ike Evans

    Youre underselling his tackling a bit alex….hes not vernon hargraves but he rarely misses tackles….its a very sound part of his game and i actually think hed be best in zone…in press man i saw him get beat at the line too much and try to overcompensate with his hands…..hes a flag waiting to happen in man

  • PaeperCup

    I really really do like douglas…but this is super concerning

    “Appears extremely uncomfortable in off man, isn’t great out of his pedal to close space on underneath throws and allows too much YAC”

  • Consistent

    Alot to like and his shortcomings aren’t scaring me away lol draft him

  • Darth Blount 47

    I KNEW once you dug into the tape, Alex, you’d come away seeing what I had been seeing. The best thing he has going for him is his size. In a quick blurb after the Combine I said:

    “Rasul Douglas also had a very bad day. He ran quite slow and showed that he has limited speed and movement skills. He also fought the ball all day. Didn’t measure particularly well either.”
    I was trying to keep my negative reviews quite short because I had gone so effusive with my comments on the guys that I really thought had good days and I had liked. His Combine numbers made him look very average. But it’s not as though he doesn’t have any redeeming qualities, because he indeed does.

    He’s strong. And although not great, at least he did have a slightly sub 7.0, 3-cone. His ball skills are pretty darn good, even if I question his hands, especially after I did think he was fighting the balls at the Combine. He’s got good arm length, though not exceptional, but certainly above average. And he does have a way of using the sideline to his advantage, showing me he has some football IQ.

    I’d suggest maybe moving him to Safety due to some of his limitations,but his tackling doesn’t really give me the greatest confidence of that being a success either. In this class, he has the unfortunate situation of being unable to stand out among such stiff competition. I think he is a 4-5th round guy who may be overvalued by some people. I’d ultimately pass.

  • SoCal Steeler

    I’ve been kind of liking him for awhile but I was concerned about his speed. I think he ran a bit faster at his pro day, still in the 4.5’s but a bit faster. I’d definitely take that over Tabor’s 4.6-4.7’s.
    I’d like to get him as the 2nd part of our double-dip at CB. May have to pick him at 105 though.