Perhaps the biggest strength of the NY Jets‘ roster is their stout defensive line. But could they be looking to add another piece to their front-four in the form of former West Virginia star Darius Stills?
The Jets have reportedly met with Stills virtually twice now, per Justin Melo of The Draft Network. The former All-American has met with a variety of teams, but the Jets are seemingly one of the only teams he’s met with multiple times.
The Jets entered the offseason with an already-deep defensive line, especially with an interior that featured the likes of Quinnen Williams, Folorunso Fatukasi, and John Franklin-Myers.
Could Stills be their next addition?
The NY Jets could target Darius Stills on Day 3 of the draft
Stills is a former three-star recruit who started his final two seasons at West Virginia. The soon-to-be 22-year-old broke out as a junior in 2019 totaling seven sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 12 games en route to being named first-team All-Big 12.
He followed that up with an equally impressive 2020 season where he was once again named first-team All-Big 12 on top of being awarded the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year and receiving Consensus All-American honors.
Stills was one of the best interior defensive linemen in the country, but he’s not considered to be an early-round pick in this year’s draft.
This is primarily due to the fact that he’s undersized for the position. At just 6-foot, 278 pounds, Stills lacks ideal size/length for interior NFL work making it difficult to project what his role will be in the pros.
At West Virginia, Stills was asked to primarily play the nose tackle position in the team’s base 3-3-5 scheme, but it’s hard to see him filling the same role in the NFL given his size.
Nonetheless, Stills has a fantastic first step and he uses that quickness to shoot through gaps and cause havoc in opposing teams’ backfields. His low center of gravity also allows him to win the leverage battle, especially against taller offensive linemen.
In many ways, he fits the mold of a player like Aaron Donald. Of course, this isn’t comparing their individual skill sets, but it’s more so because they were both undersized nose tackles in college who were overlooked as a result.
Is Darius Stills the next Aaron Donald? It’s highly unlikely — we may never see another Aaron Donald again. But that hasn’t stopped the comparisons from being thrown out there.
Stills is a high-energy, explosive interior rusher, but his lack of size and overall discipline (he has a tendency to over-pursue plays) could hold him back.
That said, he certainly seems like a player that new Jets head coach Robert Saleh could utilize as part of an already deep defensive line rotation.
Keep an eye on Darius Stills as a possible Day 3 pick.