6 ’ 6” 328 lbs.
University of Massachusetts (UMass)
Strengths: Work ethic, size, athleticism and versatility.
Weaknesses: Consistent leverage, still learning the game, hesitation
By: John L. Clarke
Every year, we here at NFL Draft Dog continually strive to find the diamonds in the rough before the NFL Draft. Vladimir Ducasse seems to be one of a few who could inherit that ‘Super Sleeper’ title. His name is slowly gaining notoriety as he shoots up the draft charts after a stellar senior season for the Minuteman of the University of Massachusetts. This profile also is timely, considering the devastation in Haiti, Ducasse’s homeland. Fortunately, Ducasse and his brother were sent to the States to live with relatives in his teenage years, and most reports indicate that his family, including two younger siblings, are safely in the United States now.
With the safety of this family, Ducasse can now turn to one of 3 important future dates that could make him a millionaire professional athlete. The Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama opens the week of January 25th, and many scouts considers this first test as the most important as it showcases the athletes ability to play football, unlike the NFL Combine or their Pro Days. UMass is not known as a football powerhouse, and the talent level of the Colonial Athletic Association is suspect, making the Senior Bowl Ducasse’s coming out party versus elite talent.
When Ducasse first came to the UMass, he was still not only learning the game of football, but the English language. Flash forward 4 years later and Ducasse is now a legitimate NFL prospect, although he will most likely be moved from offensive tackle to guard to utilize his agility and to provide support as he learns the speed of the game. His work ethic showed early on, as he began watching film and working out in the gym more than any other player on the team. Every coach and player he has been around mentions his work ethic which should translate well in the NFL.
His strengths are numerous, such as his massive size coupled with his exceptional balance. His down blocking technique and his ability to get off quickly and low from the snap are also traits that will be useful as he transitions to guard in the NFL. On tape, he is consistently getting to the second level and walling off linebackers, and on pulling plays, he seems to see the field fairly well, although he seems to take a lot of choppy steps to close on a defender.
It may seem that Ducasse has a lot of weakness, but most are correctable with good coaching. He does not have consistent footwork in pass protection and he does not seem to pick up twisting defenders very well. His reach blocks need a lot of work as he still hesitates and takes false steps. Although he comes off the ball quickly and with good leverage, he cannot sustain blocks very well as he tends to rise up on collision. Again, he is still learning that game and all the above are things that will come with time.
The Senior Bowl should showcase Vladimir’s upside, as he’ll surprise a few people in one on one drills. If he keeps progressing, and his past work ethic suggests he will, he’ll be a solid fixture to an interior offensive line in the NFL.
As it stands now, look for Ducasse to be taken in the mid 3rd round. He is not a prospect that will start right away, and needs to learn the nuances of playing guard. He may get drafter higher than 3rd round to a team that may be desperate for depth, but his learning curve is going to be about two years until he is ready for the speed and power of the NFL. I think that if he performs great in at least two of the 3 prospect tests (Senior Bowl, Combine and Pro Day) then I would move him up into the middle 2nd round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Vladimir Ducasse Collegiate Career Achievements:
- 2009 Associated Press First-Team All-American
- 2009 Sports Network First-Team All-American
- 2009 FCS Fabulous 50
- 2009 CAA All-Conference First Team
- 2009 New England Football Writers All-Star
- 2009 Senior Captain
- 2009 Preseason All-American
- 2008 Sports Network Hon. Mention All-American
- 2008 CAA All-Conference First Team
- 2008 Team Captain