Monday, February 17, 2014

Scouting Report 2 - Louis Nix III (#1 DT) and Stephen Tuitt (#5 DT)

By request, I will do both Stephen Tuitt and Louis Nix together in one scouting report. Since this is two players, I will post more than 3 videos. It's nice since they play for the same team: Notre Dame. A little about them:

Name: Louis Nix III
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 357 Pounds
Most likely position: 3-4 NT

Name: Stephen Tuitt
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 322
Most likely position: 3-4 DE, 4-3 DT

The first game I'm going to look at is Notre Dame vs. USC from October 19, 2013.

Let's start with Stephon Tuitt's performance in this first game. Initially, you should see just how slow he is getting off the line as a defensive end. Also, he seems to rely solely on getting to the edge and beating his blocker around the edge. He also doesn't seem to generate consistent pressure either. Every once in a while he beats his man, but not consistently enough to warrant taking him as a top pick for a defensive end. It also looks like he only makes plays once they flow to him. However, he is capable of keeping plays in front of him and seems to hold his position well. This is likely due to his size and strength. It did seem like he had a better initial burst when he played on the interior, as opposed to coming around the edge against a tackle. Overall, if I based it solely off of this game, I wouldn't use a first round pick on him.

Louis Nix III seems overpower single blockers but get stonewalled when double teamed. He does seem to have solid quickness for his size, but he doesn't seem to be able to penetrate the middle of that defense. His strength is his ability to take up two blockers in the running game. He also doesn't seem to react to the snap quickly or have elite burst. Although, he does have elite size to go along with solid quickness, which would make him an effective 3-4 NT. Surprisingly, after this first game, I wouldn't take him in the first round either. 

The next game I'm going to look at is ND vs. Michigan from September 7, 2013. 

In this game Stephon Tuitt was manhandled. And he wasn't manhandled by Tyler Lewan as you would expect (well he was but that's another story), he was manhandled by Michael Schofield Michigan's right tackle. Nearly the entire game they put Stephon Tuitt on Schofield and Tuitt got almost no pressure. He again relied almost exclusively on beating the tackle to the edge and when that failed he couldn't recover. More importantly, he is nearly always one of the last players to react to the ball being snapped. However, he does display good instincts in sniffing out plays. Other than that, there are not many positives out of him. He seems to rely on his quickness to the edge, which isn't elite by any means, in order to beat the tackles. I think that he might do that because he lacks the strength and quickness to beat players on the inside, despite his large frame. All in all, after combining these two games together, I wouldn't be too excited to draft the guy.

Louis Nix excelled in shutting down the run in this game, however, He was in the backfield nearly every play and was able to consistently push the guards and centers back two or three yards. He did this despite facing double teams nearly every play. While he definitely is not going to penetrate the middle like Tommie Harris, he can eat up blocks well. He will be able to come in and contribute on any team that needs help in the run game. He has to develop more as a pass rusher though. I know he's huge and that won't really be asked of him, but it doesn't seem like Notre Dame has asked him to do that in any capacity. Right now, he seems to be about where you'd expect him to be drafted, mid-to-late- first round. 

The next game is Notre Dame vs. Stanford. This game took place on November 30, 2013. 

Overall, I don't think it can be denied that Stephon Tuitt has a knack for shutting down the run from his 3-4 DE spot. He's good at shifting through multiple blockers and getting to the point of attack or maintaining his gap integrity. However, he gets almost no pressure. He is stone walled consistently. This guy is a not a 4-3 DE. I wouldn't even put him at a 3-4 DE in the NFL. While his size allows him to keep his position, I'm not sure that will translate to the NFL. In the NFL I think he's going to have to play defensive tackle if he wants to keep a job. 

Louis Nix III was out for this game.

The final game I'm going to look at, because there aren't that many games available on youtube, is the Alabama Notre Dame National Title game from January last year.

It should be initially noted that Stephon Tuitt didn't play as much as he did in 2013-14's season because he was a sophomore. However, he still got quite a bit of playing time. It was much of the same. He got almost no pressure on a consistent basis, and he was good in the run game. He also doesn't give up on plays when they get beyond him, and he is solid in support in that he comes to assist his teammates. 

Louis Nix III on the other hand, looked about ten times faster. He show cased an incredible ability to penetrate the line of scrimmage on nearly every play. He consistently forced the QB out of the pocket or to throw the ball earlier. He cut through Alabama's line like it was butter on nearly every play. He also showcased the ability to quickly identify plays and get off the line incredibly fast when the ball was snapped. His speed for a 350+ pound man was great. He showcased both a swim move and power move. He also never gave up on plays and was great in support. 

My overall impressions of Stephon Tuitt are not good. He should not play DE in any system. He may get 1 or 2 sacks a year. If I'm a GM and drafting him on my 3-4 team, I'm telling him to put on 30-40 more pounds and play NT. If I'm on a 4-3 defense, specifically the Bears, I'm telling him he is going to be put in Stephen Paea's roll, as a backup. Honestly, I do not think this kid will make it in the NFL in any other way other than a backup defensive tackle. He lacks the reaction time, quickness, and speed to play defensive end. He doesn't have the ability to take on and shed blocks that would allow him to play the UT or 3-4 DE. So, I would say he would have to be the anchor of any defensive line. The fat guy that eats up blocks. At this point, I'm just not sure he has the ability to do that. Honestly, and I know this is harsh, but I'm putting a 5th-7th round grade on him. But I really don't know what I'm talking about so, I'll qualify it with that statement.

Looking to Louis Nix III it really depends on what you get. Louis Nix III in the Alabama game is a top 5 pick easily. He shows great pass rushing skills and can torment any offense that wants to live on rushing the ball up the gut. However, if he's the big slower guy from this past year, I'd say he can help you shut down the run, but won't provide much support in the passing game. It really comes down to when did that knee injury start affecting him? And can he overcome it and return to his old self? If he can, anyone who gets him outside the top 5 is getting a steal, regardless of the type of defense they play. If he cannot, I'd still take him if I was sitting around 25-35. Of course, 3-4 NT's are always in demand so he'd likely go before that. Let me know what you think.


  1. I love Louis Nix. I remember the Alabama title game, he looked like he was the only one on the Notre Dame Defense who could play. Unfortunately for him, Alabama thought the same.

    I would love the Bears to get Nix, however what do we do about Henry Melton if we Draft Nix? Stay in the 4-3 or move Melton to DE in 3-4?

  2. I think we stay in a 4-3 keep Melton at UT and have Nix play Paea's position. He would eat up the middle of that defense. If he plays like he did versus Alabama, and his slower play was the result of the knee injury, this guy would be an absolute steal at 14. I would put that guy (Nix vs. Alabama) above Clowney at this point, as he would consistently force the QB to roll out, limiting the QB to one side of the field and one direction of throwing the ball (i.e. to receivers flowing to the QB as most QB's won't throw the ball across their body on the run *cough favre cough*)

  3. Even if Nix is primarily a run-stopper, we desperately need a run stopper. Interesting take on Tuitt. I haven't watched all of the film yet so I'll hold off on evaluating too much but I think your instincts are solid here. I think Melton and Nix have very different skill sets that would meld well together in the middle of a 4-3.