December 16, 2015 - Greg Gabriel
Breaking Down DE Dadi Nicolas and DT Anthony Zettel
Dadi Nicolas – DE – Virginia Tech Nicholas is a fifth-year senior and a two-year starter for the Hokies. He is listed as a defensive end but plays both up and down in their scheme. He had a disappointing season statistically, as he finished with only 1 sack this year after getting 9.0 sacks in 2014. Has 16 career sacks. He has already graduated and is presently working on a second degree. Size – 6'3" – 228 – 4.68 (all estimates) Strong Points – Tall, long and very athletic, great speed. Shows he can play on his feet. Is a consistent competitor. Flashes pass rush traits. Has the frame to add at least 10 pounds. Weak Points – Lacks bulk and strength at the point of attack. Gets pushed around by big linemen at the line of scrimmage. Slow off blocks. Lacks a bull rush. Will need to work on his pass drop and coverage. Summation – Had a disappointing final season at Virginia Tech. Had 9.0 sacks in 2014 and only 1.0 in 2015. Has pass rush potential for the next level but needs to get bigger and stronger. Right now, he is a late pick who should produce on special teams. Is a year or two away from contributing as an every down type player. His best traits are his speed and athleticism. If he can’t get any bigger, he won’t make it in the league. Has to be an outside linebacker at the next level. Anthony Zettel – DT – Penn State Zettel is a fifth-year senior and a two-year starter. Was recruited as a DE and played that position his first three years at Penn State. Was moved to defensive tackle prior to the 2014 season and his career took off. In the last two seasons, he has 85 total tackles, 27 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks. Has 19 total career sacks. He has all the intangibles and is a team leader. Size – 6'3" – 280 – 4.78 (all estimates) Strong Points – Two-year starter who is highly competitive and productive. Has a non-stop motor. He is very athletic with an explosive first step. Very good hand use, can shed in tight or on the move. Reads and reacts quickly and finds the ball. Is seldom fooled. Plays the run and rushes the passer equally well. Very good pursuit player. Weak Points – Lacks ideal size for an NFL defensive lineman. Looks to have short arms. Doubt he can get much bigger than he is. Limited to playing as a 3-technique in a 4-3 scheme. Summation – If Zettel was an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier he may well be a first round draft choice. A fun guy to watch on tape. Highly competitive and a playmaker. His lack of size will hurt him at the next level. Despite his production, I don’t see him as a starter in the NFL. He is more of a role player who plays in a rotation. With his instincts, athleticism and speed, he could have a future as an inside linebacker. Would have to drop about 20 pounds and increase his quickness but the traits are there. Coaches will do a lot of work on this guy during the spring.