2018 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Derrick Nnadi
Position: Defensive Tackle
School: Florida State
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 299 pounds
Derrick Nnadi lined up as a zero, one, two and three-technique defensive and nose tackle for a deep Florida State defensive line. He finished his career with 165 tackles, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries over 44 games. He earned 2016 All-ACC first team honors and All-ACC third team in 2017. Nnadi did not participate in the Senior Bowl as he was getting healthy for the draft process. His career includes a lot of big games and Florida State used a deep defensive rotation.
Nnadi brings good play strength as shown at the point of attack. He can use his upper body strength and leverage to knock defenders back and penetrate versus the run and pass. The Florida State alumni shows the strong lower body and the good anchor that can neutralize run blocks.
Nonetheless, he can get pushed by bigger blockers and good double-teams due to his size limitations and occasionally high pad-level.
Additionally, Nnadi makes up for his lack of straight-line speed with short-area quickness and burst. Combined with his football instincts and mental processing speed, Nnadi brings good play speed to the position despite his 5.38 second 40-yard-dash.
As an athlete, Nnadi is an adequate combination of size and height for a run-stopping defensive tackle for the NFL. He makes up for his lack of speed and strength with his change of direction, physical strength, explosion, body control and flexibility.
Versus the Run
Nnadi’s greatest strength is his ability as a run defender. He is consistently very good versus the run, even if he occasionally gets moved by double teams and bigger run blockers.
For instance, Nnadi is good at using his mental processing and play speed to diagnose the run blocks. He uses his burst and hand leverage to neutralize base blocks. Nnadi can use his hands to shed blocks and make plays on the run. His agility and awareness also make him good at getting back into plays as well as preventing him from getting washed inside on move blocks. Nnadi is an effective tackler due to his body control and short area explosion.
Not to mention, the Florida State senior showed good mental processing speed to make up for his lack of physical ability. Nnadi processes fakes, gets his hands on cut blockers, uses his hands to get into passing lanes and stays discipline in his run gap due to his good mental processing speed. He is also good at using his hands to shed blockers, find the ball and finish the ball-carrier versus the run.
In pursuit, Nnadi shows the effort to get into the play regardless of where the ball goes. He uses his good agility to move through traffic too and he doesn’t give up on plays which gives him good ability in pursuit. Although, his motor ran cold as his pad-level and hand activity decreased late in games and on long plays probably due to conditioning.
Added, Nnadi showed good competitive toughness with his ability to lineup across the inside of the defensive line at Florida State. He was good at hiding his defensive assignment across the defensive line at Florida State.
However, Nnadi was apart of a deep rotation and found himself off the field on key drives and passing situations.
Nnadi has a solid upfield burst that can beat average blockers off the line of scrimmage. He is good at attacking with leverage due to his size and stature. Nnadi is disciplined in his gap assignment too. However, he can jump offsides when he is too aggressive at timing the snap and he isn’t necessarily the first defender off the ball.
Use of Hands
Moreover, the defensive is solid at using his hands to fight off run and pass blockers. Nnadi uses hand leverage and timing to get into the hands of blockers. He is able to extend and shed blocks to make the play. Nonetheless, Nnadi needs to do more with his hands in the pass rush to become a truly disruptive player.
Versus the pass, Nnadi is an adequate pass rusher. He is good at attacking upfield with body-lean but he needs to work on developing his pass rush plan to include a second and third move. He has active hands on the first move but he can be easily knocked back and neutralized with well-timed punches from stronger blockers with more active hands. Nnadi maintains leverage on stunts and twists and he can finish on the quarterback when given the chance. However, his motor wore down, especially on long drives.
Nnadi has been mocked to the Raiders by several different sites in the second or third round. It makes sense considering the Raiders need help on the defensive line. This is something that Jack Del Rio talked about when he was at the head of the Raiders and it is something Jon Gruden echoed since he took over.
The Raiders have taken defensive tackles on Day Two of the NFL Draft in the past three seasons including Mario Edwards Jr., Jihad Ward, and Eddie Vanderdoes. All three will find themselves in a different defensive scheme. Edwards is the only one who has flashed enough consistently to be relied on as a starter. Thus, Nnadi is a highly productive prospect who has played in a lot of highly competitive games.
For the Raiders, Nnadi could fit as a run-stuffing three-technique tackle on run downs or a nose tackle alternative to Vanderdoes. Both will compete with Justin Ellis, once Vanderdoes is healthy. Unfortunately, Nnadi does not bring the pass rushing ability that the Raiders are lacking in the interior to warrant a Day Two selection by the Silver and Black.
He does have the upfield burst, active hands, instincts and short area quickness to play defensive tackle in the league. These are areas where he is stronger than Vanderdoes, Ward and M.E.J when they entered the draft. However, he lacks their upside due to his size and speed limitations.
Either way, Nnadi might be too much of a value for the Raiders to pass on Day Three. He’ll have to develop as a pass rusher to consistently play on Sundays, especially for the Silver and Black.
The Raiders desperately need a pass rusher on the inside and Nnadi is not that answer on Day Two of the draft. Oakland is already too invested with draft capital at that position to warrant another Day Two pick on a defensive tackle that needs to develop as a pass rusher but they could take a run on the productive prospect if he falls into the later rounds.