Notes: Lost his father at age 8 and nearly lost his mother to congestive heart failure as a high school senior before being taken in by a surrogate family. Played defensive end and slid inside on passing downs as a true freshman in 2008, recording four tackles without a tackle for loss or sack in eight games. Played all 14 games for the national champs in '09, starting four at defensive end, and tallied 33-9-6½ with two passes batted down and a 28-yard interception return for a TD in the BCS national championship game against Texas (named Defensive MVP). Started all 11 games in which he played at defensive end in '10 and recorded 34-11-4½ with four batted passes. Missed the first two games due to an NCAA suspension for receiving extra benefits and attending an agent's party. Dealt with an ankle injury suffered against Arkansas for most of October.
Positives: Very instinctive with a thick trunk and rare lower-body power. Plays like a rolling ball of butcher knives and can discard blockers with ease. Outstanding press strength to beat blockers at the point of attack. Strong run defender - plays square and outleverages blockers with one arm. Generates power from his lower body and has explosive quickness. Very active for his size. Can flatten and chase down ballcarriers and is surprisingly light on his feet and can close fast when he opens up his stride. Consistently pushes the pocket and flushes the quarterback. Can two-gap and control the double-team. Physical tackler. Good football intelligence - has an innate feel for the game. Very tough and will play through pain. Highly disruptive and must be accounted for.
Negatives: Does not win with pure athletic ability and could stand to develop more counter moves. Carries 26 percent body fat and conditioning could improve. Will tire and let defenders get underneath his pads. Naïve and immature and does not have a strong support structure - can be influenced easily and distracted by the trappings of success. Not as motivated as he should be and needs to learn how to push himself harder and take the game more seriously.
Summary: The most complete defensive lineman in the draft, Dareus has the versatility to play anywhere along the line and create mismatches. Is big, strong and powerful and consistently made his presence felt despite playing on a bad ankle much of the season. Has shown he can dominate and take over games, as he did in the BCS national title game. Is scheme-diverse and can play in any defense but might fit best inside in a "40" front, where he could be a terrorizing interior force. However, he carries some downside risk, similar to Dan Wilkinson and Darrell Russell, and the team that drafts him needs to be prepared to provide structure and guidance and help him learn that success is not handed to anyone and must be earned in the National Football League.