Post-Draft Outlook: A closer look at the Jets' picks: Round 2/61 -- Vladimir Ducasse, T/G, 6-4 1/2, 332, Massachusetts, Ducasse moved to the U.S. from Haiti in 2002 and has played football for only seven years. He thus is somewhat raw, but is believed to have tremendous upside and will compete for the vacant job of LG now that Alan Faneca has been released. - by The Sports Xchange
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A product of his work ethic and great athleticism, Ducasse is still a relative neophyte as a football player. Much like Tennessee's Michael Roos, the talented left offensive tackle has little experience on the gridiron, as he did not begin playing the game until arriving at Stamford High School from Haiti, putting on a football uniform for the first time in 2003.
The similarities to Roos are what have drawn NFL scouts to the Massachusetts campus. Ducasse saw limited playing time during his freshman year with the Minutemen, where he began his collegiate career competing at both guard and tackle. As a sophomore, he took over the demanding left tackle position and his dominance in the trenches was evident from the first time he took the field.
Roos, who also emigrated to the United States late in his high school career, went on to earn All-American honors at Eastern Washington and is now regarded as one of the premier left tackles in the National Football League. After just two seasons as a starter at UMass, many scouting analysts consider Ducasse to be the best offensive lineman in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision ranks, as he earned All-American honors in 2008 and is expected to be one of the top draft prospects at his position entering his final collegiate campaign.
Ducasse grew up in the town of Delmas, Haiti, where he said his father, Delinois, was threatened for his involvement in local politics. His father decided to move and sent Ducasse and one of his three other brothers, McArthur, to live with an uncle in Stamford, as he wanted them to have better educational opportunities. "I was happy and also scared," Ducasse recalled.
While living in Haiti, Ducasse played basketball, but never even saw a football game until arriving at Stamford High School. On the first day of 2003 fall practice, Vladimir, who stood 6-feet-3 and weighed 270 pounds as a 16-year old, approached the team's head football coach, Kevin Jones and said in broken words, "I want to play."
Ducasse credited some of his friends in school for helping to get him on the team. "A lot of kids asked why I wasn't playing football," he recalled. "I said I play basketball, but I decided to give it a try. Once I got the helmet and pads on and started hitting people, I started to like it a lot. They told me football is an easy sport because you just hit people, but I learned it was not just about hitting people." The football field quickly became another classroom that Ducasse had to try and master.
At Stamford High School, Ducasse started the final twenty games of his career, lining up mostly at offensive guard. He garnered All-State first-team honors from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and was a first-team All-Fairfield County by the FCIAC Coaches Association. He was also selected to play in the Governor's Cup All-Star Game against Rhode Island prep all-stars.
Ducasse excelled on the frontcourt for the Samford High basketball team. He also lettered in track-and-field, twice winning the league title in the discus while finishing second in the shot put. At the 2006 FCIAC Track Championship, he won the discus championship and gold medal with a toss of 139'0". He also topped his personal best in the shot put (had a 50'11" throw at the city championship) with a throw of 53' 8 1/4" in the FIAC finals, as he qualified for the State Class LL track meet in both events.
Still, it would be his "new love," football, that would see Ducasse follow his older brother to the collegiate ranks (MacArthur attended Fairfield University). After just two seasons as a starter at Stamford, Ducasse was being pursued by several Division I colleges. "As for Vladimir, well, let's just say when he arrived here (from Haiti) in his sophomore year, he didn't even know how to put his shoulder pads on, football coach Kevin Jones recalls. "He didn't know anything about the game of football."
With his work ethic, it did not surprise the SHS coaching staff that Ducasse went from a mere novice to earning a scholarship to a Division I (AA) college. "One thing I learned about Vladimir is that you can't tell him he can't do something," Jones stated. Ducasse was also surprised about all the attention he was receiving. "I never thought of getting a scholarship," he said.
"All I wanted was to work hard on my grades. Then, when coaches told me I could go to college for free, I said okay. I have to thank Coach Jones for all of this. Thanks to him, I learned that you can have some success because you are bigger than everybody else, but there's a lot of different things you have to learn about blocking, where to go. When I started I didn't know what I was doing."
Under Jones, Ducasse progressed to the point that he became a highly effective drive blocker. Prior to reporting to Massachusetts, he spent the past summer getting himself into the best shape possible. "I worked out a lot," Ducasse said."I knew I had to work hard every day." With every weight he lifted, every mile he ran, every bead of sweat that dripped off his face, Ducasse showed that the Minutemen were getting a special player who would grow into the team's "leader by example."
Ducasse chose Massachusetts over Maine, Northeastern, Hofstra, Delaware and Buffalo, but his first season at UMass was a "learning experience." He did not appear on the football field until the team's fourth game of the 2006 season, going on to see reserve action, mostly on the left side, behind tackle Matt Austin and guard Nick Diana. He would go on to make his debut vs. Stony Brook, followed by action in each of the William & Mary, Towson and Rhode Island contests.
In 2007, Ducasse started 12 games at left offensive tackle, missing the Towson contest due to an injury. He protected the blind side of the pocket, delivering 83 knockdowns/key blocks that also included fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks. The team ranked 21st in the nation with an average of 248.31 yards per game and finished 12th nationally with a 151.07 passing efficiency rating, thanks to Ducasse registering an 86.83 percent grade for blocking consistency. He also recovered one fumble and had nine down field blocks that featured at least one runner gaining 100 yards in ten of the twelve games that the UMass left tackle played in.
As a junior, Ducasse was named NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-American first-team by The NFL Draft Report, adding All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team accolades. He started 12 games at left tackle, as his blocking consistency grade of 91.33% was the highest of any lineman in the FCS ranks. He posted 94 knockdowns/key blocks, leading an offensive line that allowed just six sacks, the second-lowest total by any team in the nation, as the front wall did not yield any sacks in their last five games. The offense finished 26th in the nation, averaging 242.58 aerial yards per game.
Entering his final season, Ducasse took his game to another level. Even though UMass faltered in the second half, the consensus All-American first-team choice produced an 85.55% grade for blocking consistency. The All-Colonial Athletic Association choice led the league with 16 touchdown-resulting blocks, but had cadence issues that led to seven penalties during his senior season.
Pass blocking Reliable pass protector, using length and size not seen at the FCS level. Uses those attributes to anchor or run smaller rush ends around the pocket. Needs quite a bit of work in his pass protection technique before moving on to the next level. Stands upright and bends at the waist; will lose his balance when extending against better college players, much less NFL pass rushers. Inconsistent with his punch, catching rushers too often and giving up too much ground to less talented players. Will stop his feet after initial contact, shrinking the pocket. Recovery speed against outside-in or spin moves is questionable.
Run blocking Gets out of his stance with enough agility to seal the edge, get out in front of stretch plays and screens as well as to find the MIKE linebacker at the second level. Controls his body and keeps his feet moving to find and ride smaller defenders out of the play. Will combo block and use his length to knock late blitzers off their approach. Must extend his arms when drive blocking; keeps his hands too low and against his body, and will give up leverage against NFL defenders. Loses his balance and gets tossed aside by smaller ends when reaching for them on the edge.
Pullingtrapping His foot quickness will allow him to get around trash and quickly move to his target when pulling or trapping. Even though he is inconsistent hitting targets on the move, his athleticism should allow him to improve there and take out linebackers inside.
Initial Quickness Good initial drive off the snap as a run blocker, getting into the jersey of his man and quickly collapsing the tackle when blocking down. Must speed up his first step in his kick slide, but has the athleticism to do so.
Downfield Good mobility in space, easily getting to the second level and beyond. Understands angles, and is able to move his feet to create them. Willing to mix it up with anyone coming into his area. Fails to hit his intended target and adjust to players coming from inside at times. Hesitates before getting downfield to help his ballcarrier.
Intangibles Voted co-captain by his teammates, Ducasse is a good student in the classroom and film room who lets his play do his talking for him. He must prove he can step up his consistency and effort against better competition.
Since his sophomore season (35 games as a starter), Ducasse has registered 267 knockdowns/key blocks during that span...48 of those blocks (17.98%) resulted in touchdowns by Massachusetts, as he also posted 28 of those blocks (10.49%) down field...In his 35 games as a starter, the Minutemen had at least one ball carrier rush for 100 yards in 20 of those contests...In 2008, he led the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision offensive linemen, posting a blocking consistency grade of 91.33%...Since taking over the left offensive tackle position, Ducasse recorded an 89.68% grade for blocking consistency, the highest grade of any lineman in the Football Championship Subdivision during that three-year span...Also produced a solo tackle as a junior (vs. Delaware) and recovered a fumble as a sophomore (vs. Rhode Island)...As a junior, he became the 11th Minuteman offensive lineman to earn All-American honors, joining Bob Foote (1961, first team), Paul Graham (1963, first team), Ned Deane(1975, first team), Bruce Kimball (1977 and 1978, first team), Paul Mayberry (1990, first team), Bill Durkin (1993, first team), Mike Wynne (1999, first team), Maikel Miret (2002, third team), Alex Miller (2006, first team) and Matt Austin (2006, third team and 2007, first team)...In 2008, he received blocking consistency grades of 90% or better in six contests, setting a Colonial Athletic Association/Atlantic Ten Conference season-record (tied Northern Iowa's Chad Rinehart's 2005 total, the most by any FCS/ Division 1-AA down lineman in the last 15 years)...In 2009, he registered grades of 90% or better in four consecutive contests (Albany, Rhode Island, Stony Brook, Delaware)...Is the only Massachusetts offensive lineman to post three touchdown-resulting blocks in a game more than once in a season (accomplished that feat in both 2008 -- vs. Holy Cross and Bryant, and again in 2009 -- vs. Albany and Stony Brook).
Consensus All-American first-team selection...Rated the best offensive lineman below the major college level by The NFL Draft Report...Unanimous All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team choice...Started all eleven games, recording an 85..55% grade for blocking consistency, as he delivered 90 knockdowns and 16 touchdown-resulting blocks, as he guided an offensive line that ranked second in the CAA for fewest sacks allowed (1.55 spg)...Faltered in his final three contests, grading below 75% in each (71% vs. both Northeastern and James Madison and 73% vs. Hofstra)...Through the team's first eight games, the starting left offensive tackle had graded 91.25% for blocking consistency, as he received grades of 90% or better in four of those contests.
FCS All-American first-team choice by The NFL Draft Report, adding honorable mention from The Sports Network...All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team pick...Started 12 games at the demanding left offensive tackle, leading the FCS down linemen with a career-high 91.33% grade for blocking consistency, as he also led the FCS ranks with 18 touchdown-resulting blocks...Registered at least a 90% grade in six contests, including a perfect 100% vs. Holy Cross (only FSC lineman to record a 100% grade in a game since the 1990 season)...Had multiple touchdown-resulting blocks in six of the 12 games that he appeared in, the most by any FCS offensive lineman in 2008...Ducasse posted 11 downfield blocks and was penalized just twice on 749 offensive plays...Leader of a front wall that led the league and ranked second in the nation, allowing just six quarterback sacks for losses of 38 yards (UMass did not give up any sacks in their five contests), as the unit gained at least 400 yards in total offense five times during the course of the campaign...Also posted a solo tackle vs. Delaware.
Super Sleeper Team and All-CAA first-team selection by NFLDraftScout.com...Started 12 games at left offensive tackle, sitting out the Towson clash...Helped the front wall hold the opposition to only 17 quarterback sacks for losses totaling 108 yards, as Ducasse graded 86.83% for blocking consistency, leading the conference and ranking fourth in the FCS ranks with 14 touchdown-resulting blocks...His pass protection skills saw the Minutemen average 248.31 yards per game passing, as the left tackle recorded nine downfield blocks for a running game that scored 19 times on the ground...Also recovered a fumble in the Rhode Island contest...Posted a blocking consistency grade of 90% or better in five contests, including a season-best 96% mark vs. New Hampshire.
Ducasse appeared briefly in four games as a true freshman, lining up behind All-American left offensive tackle Matt Austin, in addition to seeing action behind left guard Nick Diana...Made his collegiate debut in the Minutemen's fourth game vs. Stony Brook and also played with the second unit in each of the William & Mary, Towson and Rhode Island contests...Helped the team rank 12th in the nation, as UMass averaged 383.8 yards per game in total offense...The offensive line led the conference and ranked 14th nationally, as they allowed just 16 quarterback sacks for minus 105 yards.
No major injuries reported.
Campus: 5.21 in the 40-yard dash (hand-held)...5.33 in the 40-yard dash (electronically)...1.75 10-yard dash...3.03 20-yard dash...4.73 20-yard shuttle...7.64 three-cone drill...26-inch vertical jump...7'3" broad jump...Bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times...425-pound bench press...505-pound squat...34 3/4-inch arm length...9 5/8-inch hands.
Attended Stamford (Conn.) High School, playing football for head coach Kevin Jones...Was named the recipient of the 2005 Aswad Tonge Black & Orange Award, given to the team's Most Valuable Player in the school's winter and spring workouts. The award bears the name of a former teammate, Aswad Tonge, who would have graduated in 2004. Oz, as he was affectionately called, passed away on June 15, 2003. The winner of this award has shown the same dedication that Oz showed in his pre-season preparation...Started the final twenty games of his career, lining up mostly at offensive guard...Garnered All-State first-team honors from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and was a first-team All-Fairfield County by the FCIAC Coaches Association...Selected to play in the Governor's Cup All-Star Game against Rhode Island prep all-stars...While he started mostly on offense, Ducasse also competed as a defensive lineman and on special teams... Recorded 18 tackles (12 solos) as a senior...Some of his better games that year was a four-tackle effort on defense while coming up with touchdown-resulting blocks on a 74-yard pass play from Donald James to Chris Patterson and on Patterson's 18-yard run vs. Danbury...Made three solo tackles while registering touchdown-resulting blocks on a 10-yard run by Patterson and a 1-yard punge by QB Brendan Salvatore vs. Bridgeport Central, adding four tackles (3 solos) vs. Staples and two touchdown-resulting blocks on carries of 73 yards by Patterson and 38 yards by Alex Joseph vs. Trinity Catholic...As a junior, he added five tackles and also blocked a pair of field goals - one each in the Bridgeport and Norwalk contests...Clobbered rush end Steve Guynn on Salvatore's 57-yard scoring pass to Ken Fersner vs. New Canaan...Took down two defenders on a 67-yard touchdown toss from David Rich to Fersner in the Westhill clash...Excelled on the front court for head coach James Moriarty as a junior and for coach Scott Derosier as a senior while lettering on the Samford High basketball team...Also lettered in track-and-field, twice winning the league title in the discus while finishing second in the shot put...At the 2006 FCIAC Track Championship, he won the discus championship and gold medal with a toss of 139'0"... Topped his personal best in the shot put (had a 50'11" throw at the city champion-ship) with a throw of 53' 8 1/4" in the FIAC finals, as he qualified for the State Class LL track meet in both events.
African-American Studies...Son of Delinois Ducasse, who still resides in Haiti...Guardians are his aunt and uncle, Virginia and Lezanoro Ducasse...Moved to the United States with one of his brothers, McArthur (has another brother, Jeffrey and a sister, Gemima), in 2002...Born Vladimir Ducasse on 10/15/87 in Port Au Prince, Haiti...Resides in Stamford, Connecticut.
Draft Scout Player News
09/05/13 - G Vladimir Ducasse will start for the Jets at left guard in the season opener against the Buccaneers on Sunday. That Ducasse, who was expected to serve as the Jets' backup tackle, will be starting at left guard comes as a bit of a surprise. The Jets signed Willie Colon to play left guard and drafted Brian Walters with the expectation he would start at right guard, but Colon will play right guard and Winters, who battled an ankle injury during training camp, will be the backup at both guard spots. This will be the first NFL start for Ducasse, whom the Jets selected in the second round of the 2010 draft.
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