NAME: Darius Stills
POSITION: Defensive Tackle
SCHOOL: West Virginia
WEIGHT: 285 pounds
Born and raised in Fairmont, West Virginia, Darius Stills has strong football ties within his family. His brother, Dante, is an All-Big 12 defensive lineman at West Virginia. He will be returning to the Mountaineers for 2021. Meanwhile, his father Gary Stills played linebacker at West Virginia and had an NFL career that spanned ten seasons. This included seven years with the Kansas City Chiefs (1999-2005), two years with the Baltimore Ravens (2006-2007) and one year with the St. Louis Rams (2008).
After attending Fairmont Senior High School and committing to West Virginia, Darius Stills made an early impact. He played in nine games during his freshman season of 2017. Breaking out in his junior season of 2019, he logged 12 tackles for loss that year, as well as six sacks. Prior to his senior season in 2020, Big 12 Media selected Stills as the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. In nine games, he registered 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and an interception. Following this past season, Stills was named a consensus All-American and first team All-Big 12.
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Stills flashes out of his stance with a wicked first step. Often times, opposing offensive linemen are too slow to react. They are left either still facing forward, or turning and running laterally. This can create plays where ball carriers or quarterbacks run into their own linemen. Elsewhere, Stills provides immense pocket pressure up the middle. His cat-like quickness forces passers to roll out before they want to and they can not step up in the pocket. Finally, Stills pleasantly surprised with his ability to chase down opponents from behind. His motor and determination to finish can lead to possible turnovers for the defense.
Read And React Ability
Overall, Stills does a fine job of usually being in a good position to make a play. He reacts swiftly and makes decisions challenging for the opposing playmakers or quarterback. If they hesitate for just a split second, the play can become broken immediately. Stills has a strong nose for the football. Being able to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage, or getting his hands up in the passing lane, can lead to errant throws. And if he knocks it down, the opponent is often left with little options in a longer down and distance during an obvious passing situation. On the other hand, Stills displays tremendous instincts on run defense. Even if he cannot get to the area to make a stop, Stills muscles his way into run lanes and creates muddy traffic out of nowhere.
We mentioned the ability to chase down opponents from behind already. With his quickness and minimal wasted movements, Stills is able to run sideline to sideline fairly well. He forces runners to go east and west. This allows defensive teammates to pursuit easily. In the meantime, Stills often takes smart angles, again requiring runners to make quick decisions. Even as a pass rusher, he does well with twists, stunts or whips from inside to out in the defensive formation. West Virginia had one of the better pass defenses in college football last year. Part of the reason, was due to Stills being able to chase quarterbacks around and making them hold onto the ball longer. The back seven had a great knack of flying to the football and taking away passing windows.
Stills does not have the deepest array of hand counters or pass rush moves. Mostly, he will try to simply run through or outmuscle opposing blockers. This allows the more stout protectors to push his arms down. As a result, they take his ample length away and his feet can become stagnant. Stills does have a swim move in his arsenal. However, it does not appear that he has full confidence in it. Stills likes to rely on the pop in his hands to land an initial push. Then, he tends to run around opposing blockers, if possible.
As quick and flashy as Stills can be, there are times where he can show a sense of over eagerness. There are reps where he overruns the point of attack. His effort and ability to recover can lead to overcoming this. Though, Stills will have to find that common ground of being patient and keeping opponents honest. He can grow top heavy occasionally as well. Stronger and more powerful blockers have shown that they can get under his shoulders in this instance. Stills will likely grow in this area with more coaching and seasoning.
Stills faced a fair amount of double teams during his time at West Virginia. He leans on outmuscling blockers, as we mentioned. Winning those reps has been hit and miss for the most part. Stills is more comfortable when he can move up the field, rather than having to control gaps. If you want to be nitpicky, this is an area where the lack of size in Stills comes into play. Where he lacks strength the most, is in his lower half. The inconsistency when trying to clog the gaps are taxing as the game wears on. Stills is just way more confident when shooting gaps or penetrating the pocket.
Darius Stills creates a great deal of havoc in the backfield. This would not only help the Chiefs support defenders like Chris Jones and Frank Clark, but adding the Mountaineer defender would help both the pass rush and run defense. Stills has smooth movement skills that would allow Steve Spagnuolo to be as aggressive in play calls as he likes. There is the potential to move him on the defensive line and play with different positions too. Coach Spags has never shied away from testing with that, if the opportunity presents itself. Adding Stills would not only add juice to the defensive line, but also it would deposit a smart football player into the fold as well.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs draft prospect profiles throughout the winter and spring. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.