Birthday: August 27, 1980
Strengths: Derrick Strait only seems like a lifelong Sooner. As a redshirt freshman and key contributor to Oklahoma’s National Championship three seasons ago, Strait has since established himself as perhaps the nation’s best at playing tight man coverage.
The Sooner defense accentuates his strengths, allowing his aggressive play and quickness to keep him suctioned to his receiver. Strait has been a playmaker during his time in Norman, forcing fumbles, making big tackles, and picking off passes. He even blocked a punt against a then-hot Iowa State last year that set the tone for a 49-3 blowout win.
Strait sports a 40-inch vertical and a 4.5-second forty, and his technique improved to a level you’d expect from a fifth-year senior. An all-conference defensive back in 2002, Strait’s shutdown performance in Oklahoma’s spring practice shows that he’s ready to prove his worth as a first round pick once again this fall.
Areas for Concern: His strengths have also proven to be his weaknesses at times. Texas A&M torched Strait repeatedly because of his aggressive play, getting him to bite on hitch-and-go patterns while he sat on the short pass. Strait did prove to have a short memory – a key affliction for corners who live and die on the island – when he rebounded the following week against Baylor for a couple interceptions, returning one of them for a touchdown. Oklahoma State’s Rashaun Woods, however, would later burn him and teammate Andre Woolfolk on play action fakes, using double moves to again take advantage of his aggressiveness and get open for the deep pass.
Strait’s height is acceptable, but not ideal. He has proven capable of jamming his man at the college level, but he might be overmatched against some of the bigger pro wide receivers.
How Does He Look in Steel Blue? For a corner who once played his high school ball in the state’s capital, a return home to Texas could be in Strait’s future. At least the precedence is there, given that the Texans currently feature two starters at his position who are native to the state. The Texans also employ an aggressive style of defense that asks their corners to handle tight man coverage, something that plays to Strait’s strengths.
(profile written by Keith Weiland
Derrick Strait’s 2002 Stats G TCK PBU INT FF FR 14 68 13 6 3 1
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