Everyone loves to watch freak athletes make highlight reel plays, but there’s something to be said for the guys in the trenches who just go to work every snap. Watching players like Florida State’s Derrick Nnadi might not be “fun” in the same way as more dynamic players, but he is about as solid a defensive tackle you could ask for.
The New York Giants are probably set along the defensive line as they move to a 3-4 defense and have multiple players who can man multiple spots. However, they could also have a need to improve their depth at the defensive tackle position if they don’t re-sign their free agents there.
- Squat, compact, powerful frame. Consistently pushes linemen into the backfield and can stand up to double teams.
- Plays with great leverage.
- Good short-area quickness (within a couple yards)
- Good hand usage. Routinely wins hand battles with offensive linemen and sheds blocks with ease.
- Very high motor. Never gives up on a play.
- Shows some pass rush upside.
- Lack of length will be an issue for teams.
- Is a run defender first and pass rush is based on initial push. Relies on effort to get home if his rush fails at first.
- Doesn’t have great speed when asked to run beyond a couple yards.
- First step is questionable. Quickness seems to be there, but timing the snap may be an issue.
What They’re Saying
SOURCES TELL US
“He’s a good football player but I don’t know what kind of impact he has in the NFL. He’s not going to be in on rush downs and I don’t know that he’s a true disruptor. It’s not that I don’t like him but those kids of nose tackles have limited draft value.” -- NFC General Manager
As run-stuffing nose tackle, it isn’t terribly surprising that Derrick Nnadi has flown under the radar thus far in the draft process.
While he has played on some very good FSU defenses, he’s the type of player who sets the stage for his teammates to shine. He’s the guy who stuffs the run to put offenses in passing situations, then eats the blocks so pass rushers and blitzers have an easier path to the quarterback. But if you can ignore players like Derwin James and Josh Sweat, Nnadi does a lot of things well.
He is a fundamentally sound tackle who uses his hands well to keep blockers off of him, and has a good understanding of leverage. He uses his squat frame to his advantage and always wins the pad level battle, and compounds that with legitimate “NFL” power. So when he attacks half a man, he is able to put offensive linemen on skates and walk them right back into the backfield.
However, he doesn’t bring much as a pass rusher, mostly making his hay with his initial rush and then a refusal to give up on the play.
He should come off the board some time on the second day of the draft, but probably won’t be a target for the Giants if they re-sign Jay Bromley or Robert Thomas.