Coming down the home stretch of the 2020 NFL Draft, we begin to finalize our big boards here at With The First Pick. Here are your top 10 nickel defenders!
The nickel has become an important position in an NFL defense. Having a nickel guy isn’t just limited to a corner who doesn’t fit on the outside, as the nickel can be a player who has the ability to go from safety to the slot and be a consistent in the box defender. The nickel has become becoming a starting position as a lot of teams are opting for a nickel base defense to adjust to the way offenses spread teams out; you need players who can play in space and are comfortable playing in space. Who are the top nickels in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Being a nickel in today’s game is just as important has having a corner who can blanket receivers on the outside. The NFL has become a heavy matchup game where offenses will put their best player in the slot on critical passing downs. This idea allows for your best receiver to work in space and get open when a team needs it the most. Playing the nickel is no longer seen as a spot you put smaller guys or guys who aren’t fast. Having a good nickel can allow a team more versatility in their scheme while also being able to win the game of matchups.
Being able to play the nickel is a specialty and it requires elite quickness to cover in space. A nickel has to have high football IQ to be able to play as an underneath defender. Most importantly a nickel has to be tough enough to do the dirty work and set the edge of the defense in run support. Nickel players can also be the ultimate chess piece weapon within a defense and should be seen as a specialty position.
Teams can never have too many defensive backs in today’s game because guys who can play in space are coveted. A nickel needs to be able to set a firm edge while being a good tackler in space that you can trust to be a factor in run support. The nickel needs to be able to play an aggressive brand of football while displaying cerebral finesse in their coverage skills. Here are the top Nickel defenders in this year’s draft class.