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Size - 6’2 331 Pounds. Nix is a huge man in the middle of the defensive line and can clog up holes with ease as a result. His size would lead to him being best suited for 0 tech and 1 tech.

 

Athleticism - For a man his size, Nix has very nice short area quickness and displays a really surprising burst. Nix uses this to move down the LOS and track down ball carriers; this is one of his most beneficial characteristics. Most present his RS Freshman, and RS Sophomore years (2011 and 2012) Nix displayed explosiveness off the line and this burst more often and to a more obvious degree...in 2013, as a RS Junior, it was less evident. Nix was struggling with an injury, but is of note that he looked significantly less quick off the line. A team drafting Nix will have to examine the injury, and use it to determine if it was the cause for his “shaky” 2013.


Run Game - Nix’s primary job in the run game is to clog up the middle and eat holes; he does this extremely well, but he is by no means limited to it. He is excellent at taking on double teams and allowing his men (the linebackers) to roam freely, unblocked. From his most commonly played spots at ND, 0 and 1 tech, Nix made habit of eating up blocks in the middle, as you’d expect, but he also was a very fine penetrator too. Nix gets good leg drive on a majority of his run stopping plays which allows him to hold the LOS and push his man into the backfield.
In 2012 Louis Nix was a Demon on the defensive front in terms of holding the line and causing pressure; in 2013, he struggled to cause the same kind of havoc. He was still adequate but he was not the run stopping heathen that he was as a RS Sophomore. Nix didn’t have quite the explosion off the line and as a result he had less disruption and his flaws were exposed a bit. Some of the less-than-ideal traits he developed was instead of driving through his blocks like he did in the past, he was a bit more complacent being blocked. If Nix did not initially win the battle he would turn his back to the OG/C in effort to shed, instead of finishing his matchup. This can be contributed to the knee injury, but you must break this habit very quickly as it hinders him useless on plays when he attempts it.

As a whole, Nix is a superb run stopper with high potential...if he can discontinue the use of his bad habits and get back to his pre-injury self, he’ll be one of the leagues most elite run stoppers on the defensive line. I expect him to immediately step in and clog the interior line very well.

 

Pass Game - Nix was a very solid collegiate pass rusher, and he brings some intriguing tools to the table for the next level. For a 331 pounds DT he moves very well and shoots well. A guy like Nix isn’t going to be expected to be a huge contributor in pass rushing, but Nix actually can be a factor. Nix is extremely adept at shedding blocks and pursuing the QB.
Nix’s combination of quickness, size, strength allow him to pressure the QB in a way that he shouldn’t be able to. Not only does Nix have potential as a pass rusher but he also is a very smart pass rusher. He can get lazy in pass rushing if he doesn’t win initially but he does a good job of getting in passing lanes which makes me think he can become a good swatter at the line. One of the more admirable traits that he possesses in the pass game is how smart he is. Nix is very knowing of when to disengage from blocks and the quickest ways to the QB/target. An area that Michael Brockers is fantastic at, Louis Nix is very smart at when to rip off his man instead of pursuing the QB on RB screens. Instead of being dragged into the QB as the line wants him to, Nix knows to disengage and cover the RB.

Nix will never be a guy who will eclipse more than 6 sacks in a season, but I think he can cause enough disruption on the interior to keep in on passing downs. He’ll be very solid, but never a spectacular sack specialist or anything. There’s value in what Nix can do in the pass game.

 

Overall - Nix is a player that you must think of what he can become, not what he is now or what he is was before. He’s a player that projects very well to the NFL with a lot of translatable skills, so I believe he’ll be a very successful pro. For the team taking him they must check out the knee and make sure it’s not long term (which it doesn’t look to be) and hope he can get back to his 2012 self. Projecting him to the NFL isn’t easy after his performance this year compared to the year before, but all things considered, he’s a 1st Round player that i’d feel comfortable taking right around the 20 mark.

 

Fit with STL - Louis Nix could potentially fit with the defense but there’s better options at different stages in the draft. He essentially brings what Brockers does to the table without much more. They’d be better off going elsewhere, unless the value presents itself later than where he’s expected to go. I wouldn’t be for the pick at 13, but if by some circumstance he was there at pick 43, the value was be so good i’d jump.