By Michael Williford
Name: Lukas Denis Current Position: CB/S School: Boston College Year: Senior Height: 5-11 Weight: 185 NFL Draft Class: 2019 Stats to know: Denis is a 2017 Walter Camp NCAA All-American who tied for the second-most interceptions in the Football Bowl Subdivision with seven last season. He's the only FBS player in the past 10 years to compile at least 80 tackles, seven interceptions, 10 pass break-ups and two forced fumbles in a single regular season. Denis enters this fall a preseason All-American according to The Sporting News, Phil Steele and Athlon. Denis is also named to the Bednarik Award watch list, annually presented to the best overall defensive college football player in college football and to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, annually presented to the best defensive back in college football.
Player overview: Denis is a long, lean, limb athlete with good hands and quick, springy feet. Denis is best used at the next level as a corner where Denis is able to utilize good arm length and strength to tie up big wide receivers at the snap of the football near the line of scrimmage or back as a safety. He plays with an extremely high motor and an extremely high sense of self confidence. Denis can line up at the outside cornerback spot, at slot corner, or back at safety. Denis frequently hits the gas and explodes into ballcarriers with a real sense of purpose from all three of the positions within the secondary. Dennis does a good job of keeping both feet under him and staying balanced when ready to strike. Can strike from anywhere on a football field. Brings a tremendous amount of swagger and a tremendous amount of versatility to all areas and phases of the secondary corps. A really physical football player — especially for his size — who will impress a lot of the NFL scouts with grit and toughness, along with an elite read-and-react ability that transitions well in coverage and allows Denis to cover a variety of offensive players in different positions. Strengths: Denis is a cerebral defender who reads the action happening on the field quickly and then puts himself in a real good position to make a play. Possesses strong hands, quick feet and a good enough vertical to high-point a QB's passes in jump-ball situations. Instinctual football player with remarkable read-and-react ability. Always seems to work his way into position to try to make a play on the football. Will not let a blocking receiver try to punk him. Typically tears through the block and attacks the ball carrier. Searches for opportunities to strip the football. Constantly rips at the football again and again while making a tackle or when others are making a tackle. Sticks his nose into the run game, drops his hips to stop the momentum of a running back on the outside. Finds lanes to explode though as a blitzer. Physical when helping out the defense against the run.
Weaknesses: Long, but small and lanky, at least for a prototype NFL safety which is the position on defense which BC defensive coordinator Jim Reid moved Denis to last year. Does not have the elite hip flexibility to break down quickly as a sure tackler in the middle of the field from the safety spot, or to turn and run down a fast receiver from the corner spot. Sometimes inconsistent. Occasionally takes a considerable amount of time to run to the right spot on the field at the snap of the football when the defense is in a zone scheme. Will sometimes take an incorrect angle as a tackler and in coverage. Lacks elite top-end speed. Not a quick-twitch athlete.