NAME: Nasir Adderley
JERSEY: No. 23
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 200 lbs
Range – Calling his range elite might be a tad generous, 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.
Coverage Spacing –Showcases high end levels of range in the middle of the field and has good sense of when the arm cocks to push towards a target. Fully capable of playing single high. Can play a bit loose in effort to bait throws, may be cause of developmental window when first arriving.
Acceleration –Doesn’t have elite burst or speed but transitional quickness is strong and has long speed needed to influence throws outside the numbers up the sideline. Very quick to drive on throws and on anticipatory plays will beat blocks on the boundary with downhill push.
Tackling –Devastating one on one hitter when greeting receivers at the catch point. Effective angles close space and align his hips and pads behind contact vs. moving targets. Stout challenges with wrap up effort and does not frequently let a ball carrier slip through his grasp.
Zone Coverage Skills -Instincts flash best in robber coverage and in the hook/curl areas. Guilty of tunnel vision in spurts, trusting landmarks is paramount in future implementation as a deep defender. Eagerness to make a big play in pursuit can betray his role at times.
Ball Skills –Top shelf in efforts to convert opportunities into turnovers. Highlight reel over his career illustrates several high difficulty interceptions. Has high effectiveness in contesting at the catch point and length, hitting power and sense of timing mesh well to yield disruptions.
Competitive Toughness –Mean, nasty hitter when stepping downhill. Takes some poor angles playing off tackle runs but issues are product of poor angles, not fear of contact. Effort in single high is superb, slides to mirror before flipping open and opening strides to beat teammates in pursuit to the ball.
Flexibility –Hips are loose, cleanly opening up to 180 degrees to carry speed through his mirror efforts. Has wonderful body control in space and at the catch point as well. Has converted some difficult ball challenges thanks to loose upper half to optimize his length.
Feet/Change of Direction –Springy secondary defender who hits his landmarks in backpedal quickly and then offers clean transitions to get into pursuit. Possesses clean hinge step and a strong bucket step to drive forward and aggressively push into the LOS or at targets in front of his face.
Man Coverage Skills –Has the physical skill set to play man to man and has experience at CB. That said, man coverage reps were sparing on film. Illustrates length at the catch point and strong angles in space, however. Promising tools to step into coverage role away from the LOS.
Versatility –Special teams ace in addition to efforts on the back end on D. Has the hitting power of a box safety with the range of a deep single high defender. Will play his ass off in any role, had kick coverage reps pop on film. Contests blockers well, can be an effective blitzer as well.
BEST TRAIT – Zone Coverage Skills
WORST TRAIT – Man Coverage Skills
BEST FILM – Elon (2018)
WORST FILM – North Dakota State (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Nasir Adderley is the latest small school prospect to serve as a reminder that high quality football players come from every level. Adderley has high end coverage skills and tackling, making him a desirable candidate to start in a single high role on defense. His projection would pair best in a man scheme, where he is then able to focus on prowling for the football as compared to passing off coverages. Adderley has excellent anticipation and ball skills, can be an impact starter.
Coverage – Extremely comfortable in zone coverage defending both deep and short zones with outstanding route anticipation skills. Wonderful understanding of coverage spacing. Sharply reads the backfield and works into throwing lanes. Did not play much man coverage but traits are present for him to do so and succeed. His physicality and route anticipation skills are ideal for mirroring tight ends. Reliable and aware.
Tackling – Reliable and secure wrap up tackler that aims low and rarely comes up empty. Does well to bring his feet through contact. Physical hitter that brings outstanding power on arrival. Can be trusted as the last line of defense.
Processing – Has sharp play recognition skills and processes quickly. Has a natural feel in coverage and reacts accurately to what unfolds in front of him. Anticipates and understands route concepts. Preparation is obvious and he does well to position himself to make plays.
Ball Skills – Tracks the football naturally and is disruptive at the catch point. Usually arrives on time and breaks on the football with proper technique. Equally sound breaking forward on the ball or with his back to the line of scrimmage. Worthy of that ballhawk label.
Range – Takes crisp angles to the football and rarely runs himself out of plays. Does well to close and come to balance. Good quickness and speed helps him get a fast jump on his path. Often wins in pursuit and gives outstanding effort.
Physicality – Highly aggressive, urgent and physical football player all featured while playing under control. Love how he competes and battles. Willing to mix it up with anyone who crosses his path. Tackles with bad intentions. Never passive. Plays through contact and sheds blocks extremely well for a defensive back. Tone-setter.
Play Speed – Plays extremely fast in terms of processing and movement. Can cover ground rapidly and closes distances. Blends preparation with good athletic ability to play fast and position himself to make plays.
Flexibility – Fluid hips and ankles lead to clean transitions. Changes directions rapidly. Knows how to reduce his surface area to slip blocks and knife in to make plays. Matching steps in man coverage should not be problematic against tight ends.
Versatility – No limitations to what he can do and function at a high level. Split zones, single-high, in the box, blitzing, man coverage are all within his realm of capabilities. Interchangeable and highly versatile. Has made big plays as a punt and kick returner. Does everything.
BEST TRAIT – Coverage/Physicality/Versatility
WORST TRAIT – More experience in man coverage would be preferred
RED FLAGS – None
Adderley’s processing skills, physicality and ability in coverage make him a versatile safety with interchangeable upside. Whatever assignment a safety could be tasked with, Adderley has shown the ability and requisite traits needed to fulfill it. His football IQ, combined with outstanding play speed and controlled aggression lay the foundation for Adderely to be a highly productive starting NFL safety. He should be a high-impact, playmaking starter that is among the pillars of an NFL defense.