DE DADI NICOLAS, VIRGINIA TECH

DE #90 Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech

6’3” – 223 lbs. – 4.65e

Redshirted in 2011, then appeared in a reserve/rotational capacity over the next two seasons. Enjoyed a highly-productive junior campaign, then saw his production plummet as a senior. Was an edge rusher as a junior, working as both an end and a rush linebacker. Lined up at left end for the Hokies in his final season, despite the fact that their base defense calls for just three down linemen; was much better-served playing in last year’s capacity. Tall with long limbs and average bulk in his upper body, but a thin lower body; listed weight is well below pro standards and will need to spend a lot of time in a strength program before he’s ready to take significant snaps. Has an active on-field temperament. Explosive off the edge, with the ability to bend back to the quarterback. Fairly successful at getting penetration when he’s using inside moves, with the ability to dip the shoulder and skinny between two linemen or spin his way around a guard. Has good closing speed when he’s in position to record a sack, but struggles to break down and make tackles in the open field. On plays in which he’s not able to penetrate, does a nice job of getting his hands up to contest passing lanes. Won’t generate much, if any, push with his bull-rush. Lacks functional strength and can be steered out of holes or knocked down by powerful offensive guards; can be jolted by opposing punches and looks like he’s playing on skates at times. Gets pretty good extension with his arms and can scrape down the line on east-west rushing attempts; long-strider who will pursue runners down the field. Athleticism is sometimes wasted by an inability to locate the football. Looked more effective as a junior when he was able to use his speed to rush around right tackles; was really hurt by the fact that he was asked to basically play a five-technique position as a senior despite being undersized for even his previous 4-3 defensive-end spot. However, shifting back to a more traditional defensive role commensurate with his size (or lack thereof) would still do little to allay the major concerns teams should have about his viability as a pro player, namely his need to add considerable bulk, especially in the lower body, and his consequent lack of playing strength. Made some special-teams contributions in college, and will have to do so for at least a year or two at the pro level as well. Explosive athlete who has enough height and length to earn a third-day selection from a team willing to be patient while he develops physically; should help his stock at the Combine.

Games watched: Virginia (’14), North Carolina St. (’15), Ohio St. (’15)

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