The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Rasul Douglas in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles cornerback, I reached out to SB Nation's West Virginia blog: The Smoking Musket. Mountaineers writer Jake Lantz was kind enough to answer my questions about Douglas.
1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?
Rasul came to WVU as a JUCO transfer from Nassau Community College where he was an All-American. He had offers from schools like Georgia and Florida State, so he was a huge get for WVU. His first season he was a backup to eventual NFL draft pick Darryl Worley (2016 NFL Draft, 3rd Round, Pick #77, Carolina Panthers). Rasul played sparingly but displayed decent ball skills. As a senior, Rasul blossomed. He led the team and NCAA in interceptions with 8. If anything, I'd say Rasul came to WVU underrated because he was a JUCO player but shined as a senior.
2) What are his strengths?
Great ball instincts. Rasul was known to be in the film room studying opponents and their tendencies. He would help the younger corners. He is also very aggressive, thriving in Tony Gibson's [West Virginia's Defensive Coordinator] unique 3-3-5 defense. Gibson would bring pressure from all directions and Douglas knew quarterbacks would need to get the ball out quickly to their safety outlets. Rasul attempted to jump routes often. Rasul is a big guy at cornerback and he uses that leverage and length to recover. He always seemed to have his hands near a ball in the air.
3) What are his weaknesses?
He isn't the hardest hitter and relies on dragging tacklers down more pulling them to the ground. I'm not sure there are many cornerbacks who love contact but Douglas isn't shy about getting his body on a ballcarrier. His fourty yard dash time was slow. He seemed to rely on his length more than his speed. He would break up passes but that is because he has long arms more than because he was breaking on the ball quickly.
4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?
Based on pre-draft profiles, the third round was exactly where I thought Douglas would go.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
I think he will be a solid corner. To me, he seems like he would do well against a #2 possession receiver. He's probably too big to play in the slot and he doesn't have the most fluid hips to try and stay with shifty guys like former NY Giant Victor Cruz. Someone like Anquan Boldin, who isn't going to rely on his speed to get open would be a good matchup for Douglas down the line.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
Absolutely none. Douglas benefited from a mentor when he was little who made sure to keep Douglas active in sports and off the streets where he grew up. Douglas grew up wanting to play basketball but didn't have the height to gain a college scholarship. At Nassau, Douglas endured a tough freshman year. Nassau didn't have dorms. Instead, Douglas had to find an apartment located eight miles from the Garden City, New York, campus. Douglas didn't have a car, so he had to take the bus every day to class and to practice. And because his grandmother still had to take care of his younger siblings, Douglas essentially was on his own financially. Despite the chances to sulk, Douglas remained determined and went to class (something many JUCO players struggle with), did his work and hit the weight room.