NAME: Nasir Adderley
JERSEY: No. 23
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 200 lbs
Range – Wouldn’t describe his range as elite, but can absolutely get to the boundary from the sideline in a timely fashion. Has for real speed (I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t run at least 4.5s) and the closing burst to arrive in time to contested throwing windows. Good length to help close down space. Good read-and-reaction timing from single-high position.
Ball Skills – Was not targeted a ton in 2018, but over the course of his career has consistently shown the ability to make plays at the catch point. Ability to elevate and pluck the ball is outstanding. One-handed interception he made in 2017 is among the toughest catches I’ve seen. Consistently competes at the catch point and contends for the football in the air every time. Doesn’t settle for the big hit, always has his eyes on the prize.
Man Coverage – Cornerback experience has absolutely paid off. Terrific patience at the line of scrimmage and ability to mirror receivers out of their breaks with smooth footwork. Last two years has not spent as much time in man coverage in games I’ve seen, so tough to say how skills have developed. From off-coverage, impressive burst to close and make plays on the ball. As an outside corner playing vertical routes, typically played the pocket more than he did get his head around to contest the ball.
Fluidity/Agility – Outstanding athlete with terrific short-area movement skills and quick-twitch change of direction. Seemed very loose in the hips and ability to open up and run on a moment’s notice is top-notch. Consistently altered angles on the move and still arrived in time to help make a play.
Tackling – Excellent form tackler who will wrap up and drive through contact. Delivers big hits as frequently as possible, but won’t abandon form for a knockout blow every time. Occasionally allows a runner to slip his grasp on a low tackle, but generally gets his man on the ground. Come over the middle on him, keep your head on a swivel.
Run Defense – Outrageously physical taking on blocks. Feels cracks coming and will take receivers apart if they challenge him physically. Stood up an offensive lineman and rocked the world of two tight ends when Delaware playing North Dakota State, despite his team getting blown out. Will fly up to the edge and turn runs back inside by blowing up the perimeter blocker. Uses his hands to shed, but also knows when to lower a shoulder and leverage a gap with some knock-back. Terrific timing to trigger downhill in run support, never hesitates to get in on a gang tackle. Takes mostly good angles to the ball, occasionally slightly aggressive in his pursuit to the perimeter.
Route Recognition – The more I watched, the more impressed I was. Consistently recognizes key offensive concepts and drives on them right away. Plays instinctive and trusts his reads. Can tell he recognizes certain things from film study, especially receiver screen concepts. As a middle of the field zone defender, made life miserable at catch point for receivers with his ability to recognize patterns developing and drive on the ball.
Versatility – Plays single-high, in the box and occasionally in the slot for Delaware, showing the ability to do all three at a high level. Man coverage reps were somewhat limited in the tape I saw, and he rarely blitzed, but see no reason why those couldn’t be strengths of his as well.
Competitive Toughness – Extremely physical and hard-nosed with an elite competitive motor. Played his heart out in a blowout loss to North Dakota State, chasing down every play from all over the field. Relentless competitor who does not back down from anyone and plays with excellent conditioning. Has made some of the best hustle plays in college football over the past couple seasons, including this:
Even if he’s not making a defensive impact right away, Adderley is going to prove his worth on Special Teams. EVERY single team in the league is looking for this type of effort. Absolutely incredible play and hustle. pic.twitter.com/r87uvXsExt
— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) November 22, 2018
Athleticism/Size – Hitting 200 pounds will be key for him at the Senior Bowl/Combine, but plays like a linebacker at whatever his current weight is. Play strength is a huge positive in his eval, arms appear to be decently long as well. Looks like an outstanding athlete amongst FCS level competition, but Combine testing will reveal all.
BEST TRAIT – Physicality/Closing Burst
WORST TRAIT – Man Coverage (due to heavy deep safety usage last two years)
RED FLAGS – None
One of the most exciting things about being a draft evaluator is finding players like Adderley that you never expected to be anything special, yet they blow you away on tape. The toughest thing about Adderley’s evaluation was finding a weakness, as he appears to be a top-notch athlete with exceptional short-area quickness and fluidity, while also possessing the ability to open up and cover ground with speed and range as a single-high safety.
He’s incredibly physical, bringing the fight to everyone on the field without sacrificing technique or responsibility. I think he’ll check in around 205 pounds with an ideal build for a deep safety, yet also perfectly sized to slide into the slot against all types of receivers when a team needs that role filled as well. The only real question mark with Adderley is the level of competition he faces, as he wasn’t targeted a ton and will need to adjust some to the speed of the NFL game. His traits and intangibles seem to be perfectly in line with the top safeties in the league today, and as long as he checks boxes at the Senior Bowl and Combine, Adderley will likely be a top 15-30 player on my board.