Louis Nix III   DT   Notre Dame

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Louis has excellent athletic talent, size, quickness, lateral agility and balance to play more than one position in multiple defensive fronts. He shows good change of direction talent to rush the passer and make tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Louis has the talent and football intelligence to recognize those pesky screen plays and break up the rhythm and blocking assignments of his opponents, which allows others on his team to make tackles in the backfield. Teams have to double team Louis or he will be sitting in your backfield all day making plays and causing havoc. When you double team him, you better do it right or he will make you pay. He has an excellent work ethic as well as the right attitude and mental stamina to play on the nose in a 3-4 defense or as one of your defensive tackles in a 4-3 defense. He also has the athletic talent to play defensive end in a 3-4 defense. Louis is the type of player that opponents must game plan for and block on every play. That is the type of player you can build your defense around.

CONCERNS
Louis has some technique issues to straighten out. He allows offensive linemen to get into his body which makes it very hard for him to shed blocks and make tackles in the hole. When he allows offensive linemen into his body, he also loses leverage which causes him to take false steps when trying to get into the backfield to make plays. In his defense, he always seems to change the line of scrimmage in his favor on the snap of the ball. Once he learns better techniques, he will impact as much a Vince Wolfork does for his team.

BOTTOM LINE
Louis has the potential to be as good as the Patriotsí Vince Wilfork. He has that type of talent. I always rate players with this type of athletic talent, size, football intelligence and mental stamina higher than most do in the draft because I rate the position higher than most. Most teams will look for pass rushers and rate pass rushers higher, but I believe to have a successful defense it all starts with a player like Louis playing the defensive tackle position at a high level. I think you can always scheme for a pass rush, but you canít scheme the defensive tackle position and make it better than the player who plays it. The nose tackle position is the base for everything else in the front seven of a 3-4 defense. The defensive tackle position is the base for everything to happen in a 4-3 defense. If you donít have quality talent at those positions, you will not have a quality defense and to think you can find talent the quality of a Vince Wilfork at any position in the draft is a big mistake. It takes time to develop great defensive tackles and the fact that they do not lead the team in tackles and sacks and tackles for loss has nothing to do with how impactful they are. The good ones are taken for granted by the fans and, truthfully, by a lot of coaches. Louis has the athletic talent, mental stamina, balance, foot speed, quickness, strength, lateral agility and size to be an excellent defensive tackle/nose tackle. In fact, Louis can even play on the outside as a true defensive end in a 3-4 defense because he can shoot the gap and get into the backfield and make sacks. Most fans think that the defensive tackle/nose tackle position, is all about tackles and sacks when the truth is, itís all about being the first player Offensive Coordinators have to think about and game plan for. If players like Louis are not accounted for in the game plan, they will disrupt the rhythm of an offense and that is what playing the defensive tackle/ nose tackle position is all about.

Drew Boylhart
JAN/2014