2016 NFL Draft: early look at Virginia Tech’s Dadi Nicolas


Virginia Tech’s Dadi Nicolas is on the NFL Draft radar thanks to his pass-rush skills. However, his lack of ideal size makes it tough to pin-point where he’ll fit at the next level. We’ve seen undersized pass-rushers struggle finding consistent success in the NFL. Nicolas has a similar build to notable draft bust Aaron Maybin.

However, the NFL is always looking for defenders who can get after the quarterback. Nicolas excels at using his speed and explosive first step to gain the edge. He routinely beats everyone out of their stance which allows him to work his way into the backfield.

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This clip shows Nicolas quickly getting off the ball and exploding into the backfield:

His success as a pass-rusher is directly tied to his speed and lateral quickness. He does a good job attacking the edge but also can quickly change direction to turn inside. Nicolas features violent hand movements that keep him clean and blockers off his frame.

The lack of a power move is a real concern as it makes Nicolas a bit of a one-trick pony. He needs to learn to use leverage and inside hands to knock the blocker off balance. Without the threat of a power move, the offensive linemen can cheat to the edge.

While his lack of size is a concern, Nicolas shows the ability to support the run thanks to his quickness and knack for slipping past blockers. He is also relentless in his pursuit of the ball as consistently makes plays from sideline to sideline.

However, Nicolas will get eaten up by blockers in the run game and his “go-around” approach will take him out of position from time to time. He isn’t a candidate to play defensive end at the next level meaning he’s facing a move to linebacker.

Nicolas needs to show he can consistently defend the run to avoid being looked at as a situational pass rusher only. NFL teams have a hard time using a top draft pick on part time players.

Current Draft Position- 2nd Round