The 2023 Senior Bowl will provide an opportunity for NFL draft prospects to prove themselves on the largest pre-draft stage. Old Dominion offensive tackle Nick Saldiveri plans on taking full advantage. Saldiveri recently spoke exclusively with the Senior Bowl and Draft Network to discuss his motivation for accepting his invitation to compete in Mobile, Alabama.
Saldiveri also talked about what he’s striving to prove to NFL general managers and scouts in attendance at the Senior Bowl, debunking the small-school narrative, and more. Let’s get to know Nick Saldiveri a little better.
JM: Where were you when you found out about your Senior Bowl invite and what was your initial reaction like?
Nick Saldiveri: My head coach Ricky Rahne called me into his office. I was already at our facilities. I can’t remember exactly what I was doing, but I was inside our facility. I was probably in the weight room.
I went into coach Rahne’s office and he asked me to open the box. I opened it up and saw my invite to the Senior Bowl. I was definitely elated and overcome with joy. I’m happy to have another opportunity to compete.
JM: What was your motivation for accepting the Senior Bowl’s offer?
Nick Saldiveri: First of all, it’s another opportunity to play the game of football. I’ll never take that for granted. You never know when you’re going to play your last football game. It’s a chance for me to continue competing at the conclusion of our [Old Dominion] season. I’m eternally thankful for that.
The Senior Bowl is giving me an opportunity to compete against some of the best seniors in the nation. I plan on showing everybody what I’m made of.
JM: I can feel your passion. What are you looking to prove to NFL general managers, coaching staffs, and scouts in attendance in Mobile?
Nick Saldiveri: I’m looking to prove that I’m coachable first and foremost. I want them to feel how much I love the game of football. I want them to feel like Nick Salvideri has what it takes to play football on their team. I can bring a lot of value to an NFL team.
JM: How can the Senior Bowl improve your pre-draft stock? Some fans and media will label you as a “small-school prospect” coming out of Old Dominion.
Nick Saldiveri: People are definitely going to call me a small-school prospect. It is what it is at the end of the day. I’m going to attend the Senior Bowl while being the best person and player I can be. I’m going to put my best foot forward. I always carry myself like a professional. I’m going to attack the game the only way I know how. If I do that, everything else will fall into place.
JM: I love your approach. Does Nick Saldiveri prefer to play in pass protection or as a run blocker? You’re very balanced on tape, but I find most offensive linemen tend to slightly favor one or the other.
Nick Saldiveri: I think most offensive linemen would agree that they prefer to run block. I don’t know if that’s consistent with the answers you typically receive to that question, but that’s my answer to that question.
There’s nothing like getting good leverage on a run play. A good leverage run block is definitely the most fun you can have as an offensive lineman (laughs). Being able to block somebody for a long time and dominating a run block is a bunch of fun.
JM: We love a good run block! What can you accomplish at the Senior Bowl that you can’t at other pre-draft events?
Nick Saldiveri: This is the only pre-draft event where you actually play football. That’s the bottom line. I’m not directly competing against other players at the NFL Scouting Combine. We’re not going to put the pads on at my Pro Day.
I’m excited to actually showcase my skills in pass protection and throughout team periods at the Senior Bowl. Even my pre-draft individual workouts won’t feature much football. This is the only time we get to actually put the pads on and play football. That’s extremely valuable in my opinion.
JM: We can’t wait to watch you compete. Is there a player in the NFL you’re looking forward to eventually swapping jerseys with?
Nick Saldiveri: All of my guys from ODU [Old Dominion] immediately come to mind. Two guys I played with recently are [center] Isaac Weaver and [tight end] Stone Smartt. They’re both with the Los Angeles Chargers now.
Like you said earlier, Old Dominion is considered a smaller program. We don’t send a ton of players to the NFL. Being able to swap jerseys with guys I played with at the next level would be extremely special to me. I would love an opportunity to share the field with them again. That would be so awesome.
JM: We hope you get that opportunity. If you could sit down with one offensive tackle in the NFL and pick his brain, who would you choose and why?
Nick Saldiveri: I would choose David Bakhtiari from the Green Bay Packers. I obviously have a ton of respect for his game. I think he does some things that are a bit unorthodox. I’d love to pick his brain on the way he plays the game and how he attacks every day. That would be very intriguing to me.
JM: That’s a great choice. At the end of the week, what does a successful Senior Bowl week look like for Nick Saldiveri?
Nick Saldiveri: A successful Senior Bowl looks like me displaying everything I’m capable of. I’m going to display who I am as a person first and foremost. I think I can bring a lot of value to the next level through my consistent play and how I carry myself.
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