Louis Nix – Nose Tackle
Nix is a fourth-year junior and a three-year starter on the defensive line. He graduated in December, and with that, decided he was done with college football.
Nix red-shirted as a freshman. He was overweight and not in good enough shape to be a factor. That year did him well, as he matured and learned what it takes to be a top college football player. As a red shirt freshman in 2011, he started at nose tackle and has held that position since. In the 2012 National Championship game, he injured his knee, but rather than go through surgery, he just rehabbed and prepared for the 2013 season. This year, he played with pain in the knee, and finally, after the Pitt game, he underwent surgery to have a torn meniscus repaired and missed the last three games of the season.
Nix has a prototypical nose tackle body. He has good height at about 6020 and played this year at close to 350 pounds. He is a wide body with good arm length. Nix is a very good athlete for a man his size. He is light on his feet and shows a good short area burst. He won’t set any records in the 40 but his 10 time will match many guys 30 and 40 pounds less in weight. I would estimate he will run the 40 in about 5.35. Nix has very good initial quickness, often being the first man off the ball. While he had a tendency to play tall in 2012, that wasn’t the case in 2013. He comes off the ball low and is very explosive. He has quick hands and does a good job not letting offensive blockers control him. He plays with bend and anchors. As a nose, he consistently has to take on two blockers, yet he never gets knocked off the line of scrimmage. When going against a single blocker, he can shed quickly, get penetration, and be quite disruptive. Nose tackles are asked to occupy blockers and don’t usually make a lot of plays. That is not the case with Nix. With his quickness, strength, and power, he gets a lot of tackles. While he doesn’t have great speed, he still plays with a high level of competitiveness and does an excellent job in pursuit.
Most nose tackles aren’t very good pass rushers. Nix, again, is the exception. He can collapse the pocket as a bull rusher and has some counter moves to redirect. While he might not get many sacks, he does get pressures and also does a good job getting his hands up to knock down passes.
Overall, Nix's best fit is as a 3-4 NT. He should be able to come in and start as a rookie for most clubs. Because of his athleticism, it’s not out of the question for some 4-3 teams to be interested. He can easily play a one-tech in those schemes.
Since declaring for the draft, Nix has been working out, preparing for the Combine and is reportedly down to around 330. I can easily see him being the first nose tackle drafted this year and will probably go somewhere in the middle of the first round.