“Derrick just gets better and better and better and better. He has no idea how good he can be.”
Yesterday we discussed the possibility of Derrick Nnadi being a potential second round target for the Seahawks. Today we’ll discuss if he could work his way into round one.
Every now and again you watch a game and a player just jumps off the screen. That was the case watching Utah left tackle Garret Bolles. It was exactly the same with Nnadi.
Do the Seahawks need another defensive tackle? Yes, probably. Pete Carroll admitted recently they brought in John Jenkins to try and find an interior rush — and yet he’s ideally sized to be a big, powerful nose tackle. They released Jordan Hill and then lost Quinton Jefferson to I.R.
They’re giving up 100.2 rushing YPG (#14 in the league). In 2015 they gave up 81.5 YPG (#1 in the league). To be fair their pass rushing numbers (especially sacks) have increased dramatically this season — but for whatever reason the run defense has regressed statistically.
That fits the eye test too. They didn’t give up a single 100-yard rusher in the regular season in 2015. It’s a different story this year.
It could be the departure of Brandon Mebane. What they ideally need is someone with the incredible base and power of Mebane that is also capable of providing some pass rush. They don’t necessarily need a 10-sack guy (that’d be nice but it’s unrealistic). Is there someone who offers the production of Clinton McDonald and Jordan Hill in 2013 and 2014 (6.5 sacks)?
Nnadi is a candidate. He’s 6-1 and 312lbs. His height and size is ideal to win with leverage as he frequently does. Here are some of the highlights on tape:
— Collapses the pocket with low pad level, drives the guard into the backfield and moves the QB off his spot (Demarcus Walker has benefited a LOT)
— Superb bull rush at times, for example:
— Good initial jolt with his hands and shows quickness to create separation from the blocker, like this:
— #Tribe17 (@NoleNationFSU) July 30, 2016
— Incredibly powerful lower body, explodes out of his stance, firing off the ball
— Regularly gains position, anchors and controls the run (even vs double teams)
— Controls his gaps nicely and shows the ability to run down the line and string out plays (seemingly important in Seattle’s defense)
— Increasingly flashes as a pass rusher — he looks quicker this year and spends considerable time in the backfield:
— 5StarLinemenAcademy (@5StarLATA) November 27, 2016
He’s a great big ball of power with a squatty, compact frame. There is some work to do on his overall hand use (he can disengage quicker when he gets caught up in a hands battle) but his base power, ability to control the line and offer some pass rush might be a nice combination for Seattle.
Is he unique enough? I wouldn’t expect an insane workout at the combine. He won’t run a special forty yard dash, he likely won’t own the short shuttle. It’ll be interesting to see his vertical though given his terrific base. He can squat 750lbs and that should translate to some lower body explosion. He can reportedly bench 525. That’s pretty freaky.
The D-line is a potential early round need, along with the O-line of course and the possibility of adding another inside/out rusher, a SAM/LEO, an EDGE, a multi-faceted weapon like Obi Melifonwu, a bell cow running back or even a wide receiver. I think we’re seeing recently that the Seahawks still probably lack a really dynamic bigger target on the outside — not that there are a ton of options in this class.
Nnadi could help them improve their run defense, provide more physical brutality and power inside and possibly add an extra pass rushing dimension.
Kawann Short plays at 315lbs — a similar weight to Nnadi. He looks longer (6-3, nearly 35 inch arms) and that could be a deal breaker between the two. Short is pretty unique with his overall size, power, length and quickness off the snap. That’s why he has 19 career sacks and is likely facing a big pay day in the future.
Nnadi is more squatty and we’ll have to see his measurements. It’s unlikely he’ll posses the same kind of length (Short has vines for arms). That said — he has 5.5 sacks this year and Short had 6.5 and 7.5 in his last two seasons at Purdue respectively. There was a feeling coming into the league that he was only scratching the surface of his potential and that’s the same for Nnadi.
I wrote this piece about Short in 2013, suggesting he’d be a really good option with Seattle’s #25 pick (later traded to Minnesota for Percy Harvin). Nnadi might provide similar value for someone.
When Jimbo Fisher says he doesn’t realise how good he could be — I think the same can be said for the wider public. Nnadi has something about him. A bit of a X-factor. If he declares as a junior for the 2017 draft — he could be set for a very impressive pro-career and maybe a first round grade.