Did a much better job in 2010 using his hands to slip blocks, was violent and compact and rarely stayed blocked for long. However, at times would get ahead of himself trying to get up the field and had a tendency to lose balance. Plays with good leverage on his bull rush and consistently was able to overwhelm and be sudden on contact when asked to disengage and knife his way up the field.
Displays above-average anchor strength for his size and when he keeps his pad level down he can really let go of a powerful, compact punch and jolt linemen on contact. Did a much better job in 2010 using his length and extending his arms into blocks.
Showcases the combination of power/athleticism to fend off blocks on plays away from his frame and close in pursuit. However, gets too upright at times off the snap in obvious run situations and can be driven off the football and/or sealed from the action inside easily vs. any kind of additional attention.
Impression: A thickly put together interior lineman who exhibits an explosive first step and improved his overall leverage and hand usage as a senior. However, because of his size seems limited to more of a one-gap penetrating scheme, but could be a real player if given a chance to create behind the line."
Run Defense: Classic 3-technique whose squatty, powerful frame and good quickness make him difficult to block one-on-one. Can get pushed off the line due to his lack of bulk, but uses quick, strong hands to disengage and has the agility to slide off blocks and make the play when the ballcarrier is near. Locates the ball quickly.
Explosion: Good initial burst off the snap. Has the lateral agility and explosiveness to split gaps and ruin the play before it has a chance to get going. Flashes some explosiveness as a hitter, though he has only one forced fumble over his career.
Strength: Boasts good weight-room strength (535-pound squat, 475-pound bench), though this strength doesn't always show up on the field. Despite his natural leverage advantage, has a tendency to play high and can be contained by weaker and less athletic blockers.
Tackling: Productive defender. Has a short-area burst to close, allowing him to make the play against quicker athletes. Generally tackles low and hard, wrapping his arms around the legs of the ballcarrier for a secure stop. Flashes some explosiveness as a hitter.
Intangibles: Was only a starter for one season (12 games). Only has four starts in his previous 34 games; two each coming in 2007 and 2008. Runs hot and cold. Seems to play his best football when he's pressured and has to perform well to earn playing time."
Pursuit/Lateral movement + Agility: Locating the football is an area where Nevis excels. He is able to identify the ball carrier and get lateral to make a play on the football. While he doesn't have elite quickness his motor and effort make up for the deficient areas in his game. Nevis also is able to purse the football due to his good balance. He is able to keep his feet underneath him and avoid ending up on the ground. This balance allows him to remain on his feet and purse the football.
Quickness/Explosion: Among the defensive tackles in this draft class, Nevis has arguably the quickest first step of the group. He explodes off the football and delivers a violent blow to the offensive line. His excellent snap recognition and quick first step are a deadly combination and allow Nevis to penetrate the pocket.
Run Defense/Recognition: Nevis can be caught shooting the gap to often which will take him out of a play from time to time. However, Nevis has a good feel for where the ball carrier is located and he is always working towards that target. Where Nevis struggles is getting his hands inside and controlling the offensive linemen. His lack of hand placement allows the blocker to get into his body and control him.
Size/Length/Hand Size: Size is going to be a question mark for Nevis as the draft approaches. At 6'2 285 he lacks the proper length to effectively lock out a blocker and his lack of bulk might lead to him getting pushed around. However, Nevis has a thick lower half which helps him anchor and hold strong at the point of attack.
Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks: I talked about Nevis's struggles with getting proper hand placement and this impacts his ability to shed blocks. He allows the blocker to get into his body and take control limiting his ability to disengage. However, he does possess heavy hands and a great effort which makes me believe that with some technique adjustments he could improve.
Tackling: Nevis is a devastating tackler that delivers a good pop. He does a good job breaking down and making a sound tackle in the open field.
Technique/Hand Use/Leverage: Nevis fires off the football keeping his pad level low and maximizing his leverage. He uses a good swim and rip move to penetrate the pocket and get to the ball carrier. He does a good job remaining balanced and on his feet while working his way through contact. Nevis sits into his stance and anchors well at the point of attack. He struggles to get inside hand placement which makes it tough for Nevis to disengage.
Versatility: From what I saw watching Nevis play, I feel that he would be a perfect fit as a 3 technique in a 4-3 defense. His deadly first step and ability to penetrate the pocket will give offensive coordinators nightmares. Nevis will struggle at the other positions along the defensive line. His inability to disengage effectively makes him an unlikely candidate for the nose tackle or 5 technique positions.
Games Views: Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M
Final Word: Nevis is a nasty defensive tackle that loves to get after the ball carrier. His quick first step is among the best in this draft class and makes him a great fit at the 3 technique position. When I watch him play he gives me a Tommie Harris vibe in the way he gets into the backfield. Ultimately, Nevis may find himself sliding in the draft due to the limits of what position he can play. However, the 2nd round is as far as he will fall and whoever selects him will get a guy capable of contributing right away."
He’s not the most familiar name on the board, but don’t be surprised to see Nevis climb towards the top 10 by the time the Draft actually rolls around in April.
Nevis could sneak into the top 10 as a 4-3 defensive tackle.
He was a consistent playmaker in his last two years in college and, other than Auburn’s Nick Fairley, may be the best interior defensive lineman this class has to offer.
Like Glenn Dorsey, one of his predecessors at LSU, Drake Nevis is known for having a mean streak. Despite not having ideal size for an NFL defensive tackle, Nevis has the strength necessary to help collapse the interior of an opposing offensive line and disrupt a play before it can develop. He has a good first step, giving him a solid jump off of the snap. His smaller stature helps his quickness when facing slower interior linemen, and he’s a very solid tackler in the backfield, as evidenced by his 13 tackles for loss as a senior in 2010. Nevis has an uncanny nose for the ball as a defensive tackle, which makes the jobs of the players around him easier. His athleticism makes him disruptive, especially against the run.
He’s a little small for his position, which likely limits him to being a 4-3 defensive tackle at the next level. Nevis also needs to do a better job of getting low off the snap and using that leverage to push opposing offensive linemen backwards. He will have a problem facing off against bigger offensive linemen if he doesn’t add some bulk to his 285-pound frame. He’s still relatively inexperienced, as he only started a total of four games through his first three collegiate seasons with the Tigers. His quickness will help him, but if he isn’t able to add some thickness to his body, he will struggle with helping to stuff running lanes. At 6’2″, he’s also a bit shorter than your standard NFL defensive tackle.
Despite his physical limitations, Nevis is talented enough to where he’ll likely be one of the first 20 players taken in this draft. He’s one of very few viable 4-3 defensive tackles in a draft dominated by 3-4 edge pass rushers. Adding bulk is rarely an issue for incoming pros, so Nevis should be in solid NFL condition by the time training camp rolls around in August. He has all the skills necessary to succeed at the next level, and if he’s able to physically adapt to the pro style, he should be a very solid pro for years to come. Our primary draft analyst, Keet Bailey, has Nevis being drafted 11th overall by the Houston Texans in his most recent mock draft.
NFL Player Comparison: Amobi Okoye"
Positive: Explosive and athletic one-gap lineman coming off a tremendous year. Built low to the ground, explodes off the snap with a terrific first step, and fires through the gaps up the field. Keeps his feet driving on contact, plays with a high motor, and chases the action hard. Collapses laterally to defend the run, flashes initial power at the point of attack, and plays with a great amount of quickness. Can immediately change direction and alter his angle of attack and rarely knocked off his feet.
Negative: Undersized, engulfed at the point and struggles getting off blocks. Has difficulty beating opponents if he does not get the first step on them.
Analysis: Nevis comes off a tremendous season where he went from late round prospect into the top 50 picks of the draft. He consistently makes plays behind the line of scrimmage and would be a very good fit as a one-gap tackle or possibly a three-technique lineman."
Negatives: Undersized, only 285 lbs., may not have the size to hold up at the next level... Would be best to add 15-20 lbs... Can struggle to hold up once linemen gets into his frame... Lateral movement is below average... Not a great finisher... Lacks range... Not much of a bull rusher... Developing as a pass rusher... Had only started four games in his first three seasons... Not much of a fit anywhere along a three-man front, pretty much limited to 4-3 scheme."
Weaknesses: Two things trouble scouts about Nevis. 1. Not since Sapp or John Randle has a player Nevis' size been great at the next level, others have compared him to Trevor Laws he has much to overcome as he seems to be unlikely to be able to carry much more than 305-310. 2. He has been very productive but has been a starter for 1 year. Will he be able to muscle OGs and Cs in the NFL?
Projection: While not at the level of the top available DLs, Nevis' combination of quickness, athletic ability and disruptiveness make him an ideal 3-technique DT at the next level. With a premium on DLs, he should be selected in the mid/late first round."
Nevis is an athletic interior lineman who can disrupt all kinds of offensive action in the middle of the field. He has been clocked as fast as 4.97 in the 40-yard dash and he uses that speed from start to finish on every play. He has to, after all, because he lacks the size of others at his position, especially NFL guys. Nevis stands at just 6'1'' and 285 pounds. He is strong and powerful, but he will have to put on size without giving away speed if he wants to go toe to toe with NFL offensive linemen. We'll know more about Nevis at the combine, but for now he is helping his draft stock and should garner second-round consideration."
Drake Nevis is certainly limited to a 40 Scheme as an Under Tackle, but within that context he should be a damned good one. Like Nick Fairley and DaQuan Bowers, he didn't put it all together until his senior year, which is a red flag. Even so, I get a decidedly different vibe from him.
As a player, he's a dangerous, attacking Pass Rusher, though an undersized Run Defender. Good motor, though, which assuages that liability, somewhat.
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