The frustrating lack of pass rush started in 2011 for the Green Bay Packers. The unit got to the quarterback sparingly, posting 29 sacks, tied for 27th-worst in the NFL. Yet from there, the big boys in the trenches started to produce more adequate production from season to season, finishing fourth in 2012 and tied for eighth in 2013. The lone issue that remains is the disappearance of stopping the opposing team’s rushing attack.
All the signings of B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion did this past offseason was patch up the problem of the team’s fourth-worst 4.6 yards per carry allowed average. What Dom Capers‘ squad needs is a solid defensive lineman who is stout at stopping the run, and it could certainly be there with Notre Dame‘s Louis Nix.
I mentioned in my last prospect profile reviews that improvement is a big indicator of NFL success according to my criteria. However, Nix stands out as one of the exceptions: a knee injury cost him the most of the 2013 season in South Bend. The problems began to occur with knee tendinitis, forcing him to sit out games against Air Force and Navy. He was eventually sidelined for the remainder of the season in late November as a result of the knee surgery.
I would not be surprised if Nix played a majority of the games hurt prior to the original injury’s designation, but the Jacksonville, Fl. native still posted 27 total tackles. The condition of his knees is certainly concerning with his minimal ’13 production. Yet, when he had a full season under his belt, he produced for the Golden Domers.
Largely, he made his presence known against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2013 National Championship Game, per Draft Breakdown. The 2012 CBS Sports’ Third-Team All-American selection registered five solo tackles with two tackles for loss against possibly one of the best collegiate offensive line in the past decade. He got a solid push on both techniques he was lined up at, but mainly had his way with St. Louis Rams center Barrett Jones from the nose-guard position. Also, he had a quick first step, as he got his arms into the shoulder of the offensive lineman with a forceful punch.
But the lack of speed was apparent against the Tide and Michigan State. As the case was against Alabama, the aggressive and physical nature of his play was kept intact against the Spartans, only failing to showcase any outstanding speed, all the while recording five tackles. Simply put, he’s slow in getting to the second level to chase down opposing ball carriers. One of the underlining reasons for this was the fact he was double teamed quite often, not allowing him any route to the backs. Overall, he doesn’t hold his 342-pound body very well.
The Packers don’t need him to be a speedy defensive lineman; the team needs him to be a forceful presence inside the trenches to improve the demise of stopping the run.