One of the more unpredictable defensive lineman prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft, Louis Nix III will have to prove himself in Houston Texans training camp if he wants to see much playing time in 2014. However, his raw talent and size make him a promising player despite concerns about his stamina.
When Nix is at his best, the nose tackle’s 6-foot-2, 350-pound frame suffocates running plays and draws double teams on passing downs. Nix can be surprisingly quick in short bursts, and he is usually a strong tackler. However, many question if his current weight will affect his motor, especially on long drives.
In college, Nix was known to take plays off at some points. When he is forced to move across the line of scrimmage on stretch runs, he is virtually useless. Nix hasn’t been present at Texans OTAs because of a mystery injury—even head coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t know what the ailment is, or at least that’s what he tells the media. It is not unreasonable to think that Nix is already struggling with the grind of the NFL, and that is a major concern heading into training camp.
However, Nix could be an extremely effective player in the Texans’ defense. In a 3-4 scheme, he would be the ideal nose tackle to play in between pass rushers J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. At least one of those guys will regularly draw double teams, allowing Nix to blow up the middle of offensive lines with his physical attributes. And if Nix himself draws multiple blockers, then Watt and Clowney will be that much more dangerous on the ends.
You really don’t know what you’ll get with Nix. At times he is an incredibly powerful nose tackle any defensive coordinator would love to have at their disposal. Or he can be a liability because of his poor endurance—that’s why he dropped to the third round after being projected in early mock drafts as a late first-rounder.
One thing is concrete, however. If Nix continues to be hindered by this mystery injury, he will have a rough training camp and likely won’t be a factor in the Texans defense until the team figures out how to best use his physical tools. But it’s also true that a Clowney-Nix-Watt defensive line could very well wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines. Nix is definitely a player to keep tabs on as training camp opens in Houston.