Nix spent his first two years with the Panthers at right tackle, playing six games as a reserve in his true freshman season before moving into the starting line-up in all 13 games in 2009.
While Nix could get a chance at tackle at the next level, he may face difficulties against NFL speed on the outside without substantial improvement in his lateral movement. Playing inside allows him take advantage of his strength and toughness at the point of attack and fair mobility to the second level, which will gain him favor among NFL scouts and offensive line coaches alike during the draft season.
Pass Blocking: Works hard to keep his quarterback clean but lacks lateral movement to stay outside at the next level. Anchors well when leaning into defenders and uses effort and length to ride defenders around or through the pocket. Bends at the waist, and will overextend at times, due to a lack of upper-body and hip flexibility. Stronger defenders can also get under his pads to push him back. Uses effort and length to recover, but NFL defenders with strong hands will get him off-balance (especially one-on-one in space) easily unless his stance and knee bend improves.
Run Blocking: Solid drive-blocker who gets push off the snap and churns his legs to move the pile. Pushes around second-level defenders when his head is up and feet underneath him. Has upper-body strength and tenacity to turn defenders out of the hole. Forward momentum allows him to move on to the next target if his man goes to the ground. Does not latch onto defenders with his hands consistently, they can roll off his block after initial contact to get involved in plays. Struggles to get low in his stance. Generally effective as a cut blocker, though pro tackles could defeat him with their hands more easily.
Pulling/Trapping: Possesses the mobility to trap effectively inside and move outside the tackle on occasion. Hit-and-miss connecting and sustaining against targets, though, as he regularly bends at the waist, drops his head and sometimes leaves his feet to make the block. Gets down quickly to put defenders getting into the backfield on the ground. Inconsistent attacking linebackers at the second level, hesitates at times, allowing quicker defenders to elude him.
Initial Quickness: Inconsistent quickness off the snap, sometimes coming up last. Come off low and hard on run plays when in sync with the center. Gets to second level quickly when uncovered, but Has trouble stopping to adjust to quick linebackers and defensive backs because he lacks bend and flexibility.
DownField: Lacks foot speed to be a major threat as a lead blocker outside, but flashes the ability to reach linebackers and safeties outside the box. Excellent hustle on extended plays, constantly follows the ballcarriers into (or past) the second level to help push them for an extra yard. Effective cut blocker, stays low out of his stance, get down quickly to take out defenders just below the knees.
Intangibles: Full-effort player with a team-first attitude. Cited for disorderly conduct in March 2009. Brother, Nate, is a senior defensive end at Pitt."
Is better suited to play inside, where his natural lateral quickness shows up well in the pass game. Doesn’t do a great job keeping his base under him off the snap but gets off the ball well and stays balanced and compact off the ball while keeping his pad level down. Is a natural bender who looks coordinated when asked to mirror in pass protection, but he isn’t a real compact puncher and at times will get overextend into contact.
However, he exhibits the recovery quickness to make up for a false step, takes good angles and can keep the inside of the pocket clean. Will continue to develop as a puncher and with balance, but athletically he can hold his own in space.
Also, he exhibits some natural anchor ability, can stay low and absorb contact, but is more of a catcher. I would like to see him continue to improve his punch and stick through contact, as he has a tendency to get overextended and will fall off blocks at times. Exhibits the ability to keep his pad level down off the ball, but too often his base is over his shoulders.
He will drop his head into contact as an in-line guy and doesn’t gain the type of leverage needed to drive defenders off the football. However, he takes good angles when trying to create run lanes inside, is quick off the ball, can seal quickly and keep his man from the play.
He is also very impressive when asked to block down, he looks much more explosive off the snap, and he snaps from the hips and into his punch, running his legs well through contact. Plays with a mean streak, loves to finish and has a real nasty demeanor to his game, always looking to hit someone.
Exhibits good body control at the second level when asked to break down, but at times seems to key up and will take himself out of plays trying to cut down targets. If he can improve his pad level a bit out of his stance, he has the natural get-off explosion to create movement and looks to have the flexibility capable of doing so.
Impression: A good athlete for the position who can win in the pass game and seal lanes inside as a run blocker as well. Has some upside as a power play moving lineman off the ball and looks like a capable starter in the NFL."
Run Blocking: Impressed by his ability to win leverage battles. At 6’6” you expect him to play high but he doesn’t. He’s a top athlete at the guard position that can get out in move in open space. He’s a finisher that blocks to the whistle. His legs are always moving. I think he has the ability to be a very good run blocker at the next level.
Bottom Line: Lucas Nix is an underrated guard prospect that split time between guard and tackle at Pitt. He’s got a nasty demeanor that should bode well for success in the NFL. He gets a little sloppy in pass protection but he’s ready to compete as a run blocker in the NFL.
Draft Projection: 4."
Too stiff in the lower body — struggles to hit a moving target.
Lunges and overextends to compensate for base strength deficiencies and spends more time on the ground than he should.
Will command interest for size, smarts and versatility, but always will leave evaluators wanting better."
Not huge, but a very physical drive blocker who comes to work with a chip on his shoulder;
has good short-area quickness, but is somewhat stiff and isn’t all that athletic;
still has long arms and is a long way around to the pocket and won’t give up on a play."
Nix has a good frame, but will need to bulk up in his lower half to fill the trenches.
He will need to learn how to use body positioning and leverage more to his advantage.
More often than not, he leans into blocks, which causes him to get pushed off his spot and unable to drive defenders out of running and passing lanes.
His stiff hips limit his ability to pull outside since he can't quickly gather himself and hit the corner of the line.
When blocking down, he doesn't crash hard or rapidly enough.
When identifying blitzers at the second level, he's a bit delayed in his reaction time."