Nasir Adderley Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Rangy free safety
Makes plays on the ball
Could play some nickel corner
Runs around and smacks people
Covers a lot of ground on the back end
Times contact well
Adept at breaking up passes
High points the ball well
Deep centerfielder to prevent big plays downfield
Special teams contributor
Not an interchangeable strong safety
Can't be the eighth man in the box
Misses some tackles
Not twitchy at corner
Summary: Recently, I was speaking with an area scout, and we agreed that it is relatively easy to find strong safeties for the NFL. Every year, the SEC produces some run stuffers and physical defenders for the middle of the field, and that kind of safety also routinely comes out of the other conferences, especially the Big Ten. However, finding a true safety who can cover and lock down the deep part of the field is much more difficult. Safeties who can cover are often turned into corners, so finding a true free safety to be the deep centerfielder is a challenge. Adderley is one of those rare free safeties, and he could be a very good value pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In the summer of 2018, WalterFootball.com was first in the media to discuss Adderley as a legit NFL prospect. He made it onto team's preseason watch lists of prospects with potential for the first four round of the 2019 NFL Draft after a lot of production in his first three years. As a junior, Adderley recorded five interceptions with 78 tackles, two forced fumbles and three passes broken up. Over the previous two seasons, he totaled 12 breakups with 100 tackles and two interceptions.
Adderley then played as a senior. recording 86 tackles, seven passes broken up, four interceptions, one forced fumble, and a kickoff returned for a touchdown. For the NFL, he brings added value in that he could be a core contributor on special teams in coverage and an emergency kick returner.
As a safety, there is a lot to like about Adderley. He has very good instincts and covers a lot of ground in the back end. Adderley is very rangy to be a deep centerfielder who covers up wideouts trying to go vertical and is adept at breaking up passes downfield. He has quality hands to snatch interceptions and times contact extremely well to break up receptions. Adderley is a very polished safety in coverage who could also contribute as a nickel corner.
While Adderley is undersized, he runs around the field and smacks people. He is a physical defender and willing tackler. He misses some tackles, and he does not have the size to be the eighth man in the box in the NFL. He should not be assigned to be a downhill run defender because he could struggle to tackle pro backs in that role.
Before and after the Senior Bowl, there were some mock drafts that projected Adderley to be a first-round pick. In speaking to sources at seven different NFL teams, however, none of them had Adderley going in Round 1 during the 2019 NFL Draft.
The biggest issue for Adderley that was mentioned independently was size. When scouts measured Adderley in the spring of 2018, he checked in at 5-foot-11, 197 pounds, and those numbers were duplicated in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. Adderley has a cornerback-type build that causes some teams to have concerns about him tackling at safety in the NFL. Being a small safety has also led to some good players having durability issues.
In speaking to a AFC general manager, they said they had Adderley graded as a high third-round pick and projected him to being a nickel cornerback because of the size issue. Another AFC general manager said Adderley probably should be a third-round pick.
Here is what one NFC director of college scouting said about Adderley, "He's a solid athlete but can't really run when you watch the tape and he bounces off of too many tackles. A little overrated and shouldn't go in the second [round] if people study the tape. He had no real twitch at nickel either at the Senior Bowl."
All seven team sources thought that Adderley should, and would, go on the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft. They liked him as a player, but felt that he has some size and athletic limitations that hold him back from being a transcendent talent who belongs on the opening night of the draft.
In the 2019 NFL Draft, Adderley looks like a second- or third-round pick. I think he could turn into a quality starting free safety with Pro Bowl potential.
Player Comparison: Tanard Jackson. Adderley reminds me of Tanard Jackson. Jackson was on his way to being one of the best free safeties in the NFL before drug issues ruined his career. Jackson and Adderley both had cornerback builds, but were rangy free safeties who played tough and were adept at locking down the deep part of the field. Jackson would have been a second-day pick in 2007 if he did not have the character concerns. Adderley should go on Day 2 during the 2019 NFL Draft.
NFL Matches: Oakland, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Kansas City, New England
The Raiders should not have a need at safety, but former general managers Reggie McKenzie took a few busts at the position. Obi Melifonwu was cut, and Karl Joseph is more of a rotational backup. Thus, Oakland needs a long-term starter.
Carolina needs a free safety to pair with Eric Reid, and Adderley could be a great fit for the Panthers on Day 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft. Staying in the NFC South, Tampa Bay made a mistake passing on Derwin James in the 2018 NFL Draft and the Buccaneers need a safety to go with Justin Evans. Adderley could make sense on the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft for Tampa Bay.
Green Bay traded away HaHa Clinton-Dix and could use a safety to go with Josh Jones.
Eric Berry has had an inspiring career overcoming injuries and illness. Kansas City could use an upgrade next to him though and get ready for the end of his career.
The Patriots have some aging safeties and could use some youth at the position.