Louis Nix wasn’t an All-American for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish last year because of his stats. And his stats won’t make him a first-round pick next April, where he’s expected to be drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Simply put, stats aren’t a good way of explaining how good Nix is, or how effective he can be for a defense. But make no mistake, Nix is an elite nose tackle prospect who projects highly in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, similarly to his fellow lineman Stephon Tuitt. As highly as he’s viewed, though, he still has a few things left to prove in South Bend.
- Is a genuinely good guy, loved by teammates, coaches, professors, administrators and fans alike. Is a hard worker and good student.
- Prototypical size for a nose at 6-foot 2, 357-pounds with elite strength.
- Is an overpowering player who can simply overwhelm opposing offensive linemen with his sheer size and strength.Regularly pushes offensive linemen behind line of scrimmage.
- Occupies two blockers nearly every play. Offenses must account for him in the middle of a defense.
- Adept at splitting through his constant double-teams.
- Elite run-stuffing skills, and can also collapse the pocket with a world-class bullrush.
- Considering his immense size, does a good job of getting off the ball. Strong read-and-react skills.
- Gives a jarring initial punch off the snap and gets good extension. Plays with strong hands, and does a good job of keeping them inside his opponents chest.
- Regularly plays with a good pad-level.
- Good redirection skills considering his size. Moves well down the line.
- Has experience playing in a 3-4 and 4-3 defense, extensively playing both a zero and 1 technique.
- No major injuries through three seasons of college football, a rarity, especially for interior linemen.
- Major weight control issues. Has gained 31-pounds since this spring alone, though it’s said to be “good weight”.
- Has to prove he can play at increased weight after playing most of last year in the 325-to-330 range.
- Conditioning is a concern due to his size. Will he wear down in the fourth quarter? Can he consistently be a 3-down lineman in the NFL, or will he be more of a 2-down lineman?
- Doesn’t have a history of injuries, but will playing at such a weight lead to future injuries (back, knees, ankles, etc.)?
- Obviously doesn’t have great playing speed and isn’t strong in pursuit.
- Not a major pass rushing threat. Can collapse the pocket well, but won’t ever post high sack digits.
- Either doesn’t have or chooses not to employ a strong repertoire of pass rushing moves.
- Can get a little high after engaging, bending more at the waist than the knees.
2013 Season Outlook
Nix has gotten better and better each season since arriving in South Bend in 2010, and there are no signs that he won’t continue improving as he enters his senior season. Notre Dame regularly boasts difficult schedules, and this season will be no different, giving scouts ample opportunities to watch Nix go against elite competition.
Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard and Stanford guard David Yankey will provide very good indicators for scouts evaluating Nix in ’13, and he is expected to dominate both. Notre Dame will once again have a stout defense, and Nix will once again be a primary reason. Expect another All-American campaign for the big man this fall.
As a pro prospect, Nix is impressive. There hasn’t been a nose tackle prospect like Nix since Vince Wilfork was picked by the New England Patriots in 2004, a fellow big man who Nix compares favorably to.
Obviously 3-4 teams will be interested in Nix to play the zero, but 4-3 teams will also be interested in Nix playing the 1-technique (a la Pat Williams with the Minnesota Vikings not long ago).
2014 NFL Draft Projection: Mid-First Round