CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin

5’11” – 200 lbs. – 4.52

Began his collegiate career at Hawaii, where he started eight of ten games played as a true freshman and all thirteen games the following season before transferring to Wisconsin. Sat out the 2016 season per NCAA transfer requirements, then started all thirteen games this past season before declaring for the draft. Official height and weight are commensurate with pro requirements for the boundary, but with what appears to be marginal length; consequently Combine measurements will be important. This past season, played on the outside for the Badgers, often shadowing opposing number-one receivers. Most frequently in off-coverage, either man or zone, but also play some press-man, some bump-and-run, some shuffle, and even backpedals at times. Has good footwork, balance, and body control to match opposing releases at the line of scrimmage; looks good backpedaling, with quick feet, and did so more often than most college cornerbacks. Able to place his hands and use them to stick with opposing receivers in bump-and-run, although as mentioned previously he lacks length. Has good instincts for the position and does a good job of anticipating patterns to provide tight coverage on opposing receivers. More of an anticipatory cornerback than an explosive athlete, however, with just adequate burst when planting and driving on a spot. Seems to have a pretty good grasp of route combinations and keeps the play in front of him when playing off-zone. Diagnostic ability allows him to get his hands on lots of passes; broke up twenty-one passes this season and fifteen as a sophomore. However, made it through his college career without intercepting a pass. Can sometimes make a little bit too much contact and may be penalty-prone. Willing to get pretty physical with opposing wide receivers but doesn’t have a lot of functional strength. That becomes apparent when defending screens or playing the run; can be jolted off of his spot by opposing receivers and although he is willing to attack blocks and attempt tackles, reliability and stopping power leave a lot to be desired. Also has some special-teams value; ran back a punt for a touchdown this year and also blocked a kick. Comes with three years of starting experience at the college level and has the ability to play with technique, anticipate routes, and break up passes, but functional strength is somewhat lacking. Might end up going in the mid-rounds after undergoing knee surgery during the pre-draft process.

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