Showcases decent footwork in his drop but lacks range and is really stiff hipped when trying to get out of his breaks. At times is forced to turn his back to the play in order to get proper depth and isn't a guy who will be able to athletically hold up in space. Also,lacks great awareness and has a tendency to lose track of receivers behind him. Needs to do a better job feeling routes develop around him. Missed the 2009 season due to injuries he suffered in a car accident prior to the start of the year and it will be interesting to see if he has regained his form from 2008.
Impression: A physical linebacker who knows how to win at the point of attack and consistently finds the football. Have the makings of making a roster and fighting for playing time as a two down backer down the line."
Positive: Fluid, flowing linebacker constantly around the action. Athletic, moves well about the field and shows skill in pursuit. Breaks down well using his hands to protect himself, fast out to the flanks and plays with an exceptional degree of quickness. Smooth pedaling in reverse, can flip his hips and shows skill in coverage.
Negative: Just marginal force up the field on the blitz. Struggles getting off blocks and easily knocked from his angle of attack by a single opponent. Not a strong open field tackler and tends to drag down opponents.
Analysis: Irving has shown skill since his early days at North Carolina State but played out of position at the middle linebacker spot last year. He has the skills and wherewithal to be a weak side linebacker at the next level and his successful return to the field in 2010 bolds well moving forward."
Negatives: Plays a little high at times, which allows blockers access to his lower body, susceptible to cut blocks outside the box... A little undersized to play ILB in a 4-3 scheme, but would make a very good weak-side backer... Not the surest tackler, comes in too high at times and does not always drive feet at contact... Not an explosive hitter, can pop ball carriers if he takes the right angle, but is mostly a wrap-up tackler... Is not a pass rusher, needs to develop a larger arsenal of moves, generally relies on straight-line speed to get into the backfield... Major injury concerns, was sidelined in 2008 and was involved in a car accident in 2009 that left him with several injuries... Can get engulfed at the line of scrimmage if taking a bad angle to the ball carrier or if gap closes quickly."
Nate is a 2006 graduate of Wallace-Rose Hill High School in Wallace, North Carolina where he led his team to a 10-0 start to the season as a senior while totaling 110 tackles, six forced fumbles, three sacks and one interception. He also added 12 all-purpose touchdowns as a senior and was an all-conference selection. He played in the North Carolina Shrine Bowl.
Nate redshirted during his freshman season at N.C. State.
In 2007, he tallied 52 total tackles, most of them in the last four games after moving into the starting lineup in the win over Virginia. He added five TFLs in the last five games, and 2 FFs.
In 2008, he was named honorable mention All-ACC performer, and would have battled for first-team honors if he hadn't missed a third of the season with an ankle injury. Piled up 84 tackles despite the games missed, and led the team with four interceptions - highest total ever by a Wolfpack linebacker.
2009: See above.
2010: 92 tackles, 21.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 6 PBUs, 9 QBHs, 2 FR, 3 FFs.
Strengths: Dynamic, instinctual, physical, fast and tough. Has some big play ability. Very intense and driven. Will run and chase down backs and receivers. Worker to whom the game is important. Fights through trash effectively. Solid leader. Good blitzer. Will stay with receivers in the flat and on crossing patterns and is aware in coverage. Will pick off a lot of passes and change games. Can make a living in the opponent's backfield, if you like, and is an ideal rush OLB candidate. Has some versatility. A true football player.
Weaknesses: Took awhile to come all the way back from the car accident, was obviously not himself early during the 2010 season, and will need to be fully checked out physically. Not the biggest guy around. Emotions can sometimes get the best of him. Best when not too encumbered with responsibilities.
Projection: 3-4th rounder."
That led to some high expectations in 2009, but football was not important after Irving was involved in a serious car accident. In late June, the accident resulted in a compound fracture, a collapsed lung, a broken rib and a separated shoulder. Irving's football future was in doubt, but by the winter he was back and getting ready for the 2010 season. And Irving is back and leading NC State this season. Through nine games he leads the team with 65 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and eight quarterback hurries.
Irving's ability to come back from life threatening injuries is an inspiring story. He is obviously a very tough individual and hard worker and any NFL team would be happy to have him. At the next level he can make an impact on special teams and work his way into the regular rotation at inside or outside linebacker. That versatility makes him an intriguing option for some defensive schemes and he could be a good value in the middle rounds for the right team."
He has lost some of the explosion that defined his game early in his career and still will have to clear medical evaluations in the spring. He is tough, competitive and instinctive, but he is not a strong take-on player, tends to overrun the ball and would be better-suited playing outside in the pros."
Nate Irving currently projects as about a 4th Rounder, and I think that is both amazing and wonderfull.
Fellow Draftnicks will know that Irving was an Ascending Star, before missing the entire 2009 season, due to an horrific car crash.
What most folks ~ including, unfathomably, the vast majority of GM's ~ either do not know or forget...is that it generally takes about 18 months for a player, in the wake of a major injury, to take it all the way through the gears...and get back up to Full Operating Speed.
As a result, Nate Irving is, as mentioned, projected to be about a 4th Rounder.
Mark me: It says, here, that, once he's all the way back, next year, some team is going to get blessed with a Mid Fielder of exceptional Power, Agility, Lateral Velocity, and Processing Speed.
A 1st Round Impact, if you will.
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