Damian Francis 2022 NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 205 pounds
School: Texas Wesleyan
Damian Francis has made sacrifices that most others would never dream of. And when asked why he simply says God spoke to him and told him this was his purpose in life. He set aside a promising career in music, to instead focus on the sport he loves. Francis did not get involved with football until he was 13 years old, but it became apparent quickly that he had a future in the sport. Just four years removed from the first time he ever played organized football, Francis found himself committing to Northland C&T College, a JUCO school.
Damian Francis NFL Draft Overview
Despite his relatively humble beginnings at the JUCO level, he found success as a two-sport athlete. Playing basketball, and football Francis managed to put himself on the map in just two seasons. He found himself receiving offers and accepted the first one he came across. He transferred to a Division II school, the University of Central Oklahoma. He stuck with the school for just one season before he moved on to Texas Wesleyan University. He reunited with a JUCO teammate and the pair took over the starting cornerback positions.
Damian may have played primarily cornerback with Texas Wesleyan, but prior to this he was moved all over. At the JUCO level Francis was asked to play safety, and some linebacker. Then he transferred to Central Oklahoma where they asked him to play primarily as an outside linebacker. During the 2020 season, Francis found himself back at cornerback. His versatility, unique body type, and athleticism will serve him well at the next level.
Damian Francis’s path has been the road less traveled since day one. Yet now NFL and CFL teams are targeting players like him more and more. In the modern game, teams are looking for smaller, faster linebackers, or bigger, stronger safeties to help contend with tight ends that are built like defensive linemen but run like receivers. Francis is the prototypical player to fill this role. When asked where he would place himself position-wise, Francis responded with safety. He mentioned that the safety role would allow him to utilize all of his skills. Whether it is single coverage on a receiver, rushing the quarterback, dropping down in the box as an extra linebacker, or dropping back and playing single-high safety, Francis can do it and he is looking forward to the opportunity to prove himself.
- Versatile and he can play linebacker, free safety, strong safety, and cornerback, regardless of alignment;
- Driven to succeed and he has given up many other opportunities to focus on football;
- Showed consistent development in coverage despite being moved around in college;
- Sought out a trainer to work on coverages;
- Lack of experience compared to other draft picks who likely started playing much earlier than the age of 13;
- Position-less player who did not get to focus on a singular role;
- Needs to continue to develop with high-level coaching to reach his ceiling;
- Level of competition he faced in college;
NFL Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu
Teams With Need At Position: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks
Projection: Sixth round
Bottom Line on Damian Francis
Whether a team decides to draft Francis and have him play outside at cornerback, as a safety, or bulk up to play linebacker remains to be seen. With that being said Francis is the type of player that can and will happily line up wherever he is needed as displayed during his college career. Whether it was rush linebacker, cornerback, free safety, or strong safety, Francis has been there and done that at a high level. The big question with Francis is can a coach harness his talents, and put him in the best position to find success. Which in Francis’s eyes involves him playing safety and filling a number of roles.
Check out my full interview with Damian:https://youtu.be/tqc7E-XhEWQ