Derrick Nnadi Gives Lions Day Three Option At Defensive Tackle In The 2018 NFL Draft

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A Look At 2018 Draft Prospect Derrick Nnadi As A Potential Fit For The Detroit Lions


Defensive Tackle is one of the Detroit Lions’ largest holes left to fill in the 2018 off-season. With the addition of nose tackle Sylvester “Sly” Williams, it could be possible the Lions feel set at that interior defensive line spot. That leaves an opening for a quick-penetrating defensive tackle to take advantage of one-on-one opportunities at the other defensive tackle spot. Derrick Nnadi, defensive tackle from Florida State, could very well fill that hole for the Lions in the upcoming NFL draft.

What Does Derrick Nnadi Do Well?

When putting on the film from his time at Florida State, it is clear Nnadi was a more refined run stuffer than he was as a pass rusher. He has really good lateral movement that allows him to scrape down the line very well. He has a natural feel versus zone running schemes, especially stretch zone. Showed very good gap discipline in every game I put on. While he does not have the mass to anchor, it can be really hard to move him off his mark if he wins at the point of attack.

As a pass rusher, he possesses a violent slap-rip combo that is his go-to move. Has some of the best hand usage of the interior pass rushers in this draft class. But ultimately, he is limited by his lack of length, burst, and lack of serious drive to collapse or push the pocket.

What Could Hold Nnadi Back In The NFL?

Primarily, it will be his length and his lack of pass rush production. While he has shown flashes of ability as a pass rusher, he is far from consistent. His ability to win with quickness works well in one-on-one situations but has gotten swallowed up by double teams. Nnadi will need to spend serious time building up strength to compete well in NFL-tier interior line battles.

While he does key running backs well, he can get caught staring in the backfield at times and miss the play. While speed is certainly not the most important trait to interior defensive line success, his top speed is quite low and he can get caught behind plays that get to the edge quickly, often.

Ultimately, the Detroit Lions would need to assess whether or not his lack of length is a red flag for them. With new Lions head coach Matt Patricia having a proclivity for getting the most out of his front seven, there is room for optimism in regards to Nnadi being drafted in Detroit. While he is only a two-down player, his reliability against the ground game could be very useful for this defense. He can rotate in on downs one and two to help stop the run, giving the interior pass rushers a breather before they come in on third down.

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