Pierre Desir began his college career playing at Washburn before playing his final season at Lindenwood. Desir has excelled at both stops, clearly being one of the best players on the field in every contested he participated. There is always a question as to the level of competition, but Desir has the opportunity to showcase his ability at the Reese’s Senior Bowl against the best in the country. Desir excelled and never looked out of place or out if his depth.
For the NFL, Desir has a lot of the characteristics that have been popular in recent years, but he also has the more classic skill set that is always sought after by teams. He has height and length to press if a team wants him to do it as well as the agility and feet to run with opponents trying to go down the field. Desir could play in a zone or man scheme as well, so he should go in the second round of the draft but could go at the top of the round as he could be attractive to a number of teams.
Vitals & Build
Desir measured 6’1” 198lbs at the combine with 33” arms. He looks like a prototypical corner with tremendous length and a good looking build. His straight line speed is relatively average but his burst and acceleration is impressive. Desir is a long strider but gains a tremendous about of speed with each speed and can get to full speed quickly. He has good feet and agility as well as fluid hips. His functional strength is average and he needs to continue getting stronger. Physically, Desir can work to get stronger and try to get faster, but he ready to contribute as is.
Desir is a pretty consistent wrap up tackler. He is not someone who is often going to lay the wood on someone, but he does his job and gets the guy on the ground. Given that he is out on an island generally, he just needs to be concerned with not missing someone rather than trying to intimidate them. More strength would give him more pop, but he has good habits, keeps his feet under him and does not require help to get the ball carrier down.
Desir is a willing run defender, but does not seem to be an overly enthusiastic one. When he reads run, he will come downhill and try to get involved, but if someone beats him to the play, he is not upset about it. He can make plays but is more concerned with fulfilling his role than he is really bringing an aggressive mindset and trying to make an impact.
He can be more physical with blocks and take more advantage of his length to keep opponents out of his body or simply throw them out of the way. Desir seems to spend most of his attention on insuring he has the right position, angle, and outside leverage to the play rather than being someone who is going to attack. Some defensive systems will certainly appreciate that mindset as he is not someone who is going to look bad taking himself out of plays.
Desir has a lot of experience in different coverages. He has played tight, on the line as well as in off man coverage. Desir has done a little with press but tends to just put his arms on the guy to try to ride and control the opponent rather than really throw a jolting type of punch to initiate contact, potentially knocking them off of their route. He has the build that will be attractive to teams that want to run press and he could certainly develop in that area.
In off man coverage, Desir really prefers to play with an outside leverage and play everything inside towards the field so he can attack downhill on it, seeing the quarterback and trusting his burst to get him there. The defensive scheme they used varied how Desir was used, playing man with some cushion, showing zone and then having situations where Desir was allowed to be extremely aggressive and try to undercut plays.
Desir has the long strides that allow him to catch up, break on the ball or work across the field to attack the run. He has a great backpedal and can go with quicker, choppier steps. Occasionally, he will get crossed up and lose a step when he transitions to adjust to what the receiver is doing, but he is generally effective. This can also come up in situations when he wants to break on the football and he be too high or lean back too much, slowing down that transition.
His overall length, speed and reach allow him to make up a great deal of ground as well as make plays on the football, both for pass deflections and when it comes to try to cause interceptions. Whatever lack of speed he has on the stop watch seems to disappear as a result. While he played against inferior competition largely in college, he was able to showcase this speed and ability to hold his own at the Senior Bowl, where he had a good week.
Lindenwood did have some zone looks in their coverages with Desir on the outside. Generally, it came from an off man look and it would look basically as though he and the defender inside of him would exchange coverage responsibilities. Desir does a nice job of recognizing how opponents are attacking him and where he needs to go in coverage.
Desir is comfortable playing with his shoulders square to the quarterback and shows a pretty good amount of range in how far he can reach and how much ground he can cover. Although he does seem more effective and comfortable as a man corner, teams that run a healthy mix or pure zone teams could still like Desir as well.
Desir has natural ball skills, is comfortable not only attacking the football but catching the ball with his hands and away from his body. He is not afraid of the big stage and is looking for an opportunity to make a big impact and a game changing play.
Desir is best suited to play in a pure man scheme, but could also be attractive to teams that run zone, primarily operate in press or a healthy mix of both man and zone. From a pure skill standpoint, Desir has the base skills and physical tools to do the job and he just has to continue developing and get accustomed to the speed of the NFL.
Desir has a legitimate shot to come in and start as a weak side corner for a team. If the speed of the game and adjustment from college to the speed of the NFL proves problematic, it may be a slower boil, but his future is as a starter. Worst case would suggest he should be a nickel player that pushes someone inside while he plays the sideline.
In a lot of ways, Desir has similarities to Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. Both came from the smaller school ranks as Cromartie was a 1st round pick from Tennessee State. Both have terrific length and the ability to play in man coverage. Cromartie had more speed coming out, which is why Desir may not go as high, but Desir could have the same type of career or better in the NFL.
Pierre Desir has a good combination of physical tools and the savvy on how to use them. While he did play a lower level of competition, he was fantastic against the best in Mobile and his solid fundamentals and technique prevailed on the stage. If he becomes a more interested run defender, he can continue to improve in that area, but Desir has a skill set that could translate immediately and help a team early. As a result, he warrants a top 75 pick but could end up going right around the top of the second round to a team that loves him for their scheme. Desir could end up as the first FCS player drafted this year and he should be.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com