As I begin my film scouting reports for the 2019 NFL Draft, I’m going to focus on doing reports on prospects that fit a need for the Panthers. Those positions include left tackle, interior offensive line, defensive line, and safety.
Even if the Panthers re-sign Eric Reid, they have to upgrade the spot with a younger player. Rashaan Gaulden didn’t see many snaps in 2018, but I was never a huge fan of his potential coming out of Tennessee. At best, he becomes a core special teamer and a long term Colin Jones replacement. Carolina needs a game changing safety who can affect the pass game.
Nasir Adderley from Delaware is a potentially game changing safety. Adderley was a four-year starter for the Blue Hens and he will be in Mobile this week for the Senior Bowl.
Much will be made about Adderley spending his entire tenure for an FCS program, but when scouting his traits it becomes easy to see why his skill set is appealing.
Great interception by Nasir Adderley. Reads the trip side, but then transitions deep to pick off the quarterback pic.twitter.com/sdGZNK6bXs— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 18, 2019
He has the athleticism, instincts, and ball skills to cover the deep middle of the field. Many teams have attempted to replicate the legendary “Legend of Boom” Seahawks by drafting big corners and searching for the next Earl Thomas. Adderley isn’t Thomas, but when a safety has the traits to cover this much ground it does a ton for a defense.
Closer view of Adderley reading the opposite side before flipping his hips and working deep pic.twitter.com/oUWf9I30Gg— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 18, 2019
Here is a closer view of Adderley’s interception.
Ball was overthrown, but Adderley covers a ton of ground to make this interception. pic.twitter.com/FZMG1UZS47— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 20, 2019
Adderley reads this throw perfectly, but what stands out is his speed to make up so much ground.
Adderley reads and reacts to the QB's eyes to break on the tight end in the flat. Should have been a pick pic.twitter.com/DlaoHF0meC— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 20, 2019
Adderley has the smarts to match route concepts too. He does a good job of reading the quarterback’s eyes and then transitioning to match the tight end in the flat.
Post Wheel from the offense. Post route catches Adderly hesitating for a second. Doesn't make up the ground in time to prevent the catch pic.twitter.com/qMVJIAvZl3— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 18, 2019
Adderley isn’t without faults though. He’s patrolling the deep half of the field in a two high shell. The offense runs a post wheel, which is tough for the secondary. Adderley hesitates to read the concept which gives the offense an advantage to complete this pass. His reading of the game is advanced, but he can improve on reading deeper routes.
Adderley is primarily a deep safety, so he wasn’t asked to come into the box much. However, it’s critical for the last line of defense to be reliable against the run. If a back runs through the first two levels, then the safety has to make a play to prevent a touchdown.
First exposure to Delaware SAF Adderly vs Elon. Does a nice job of filling the alley in run support pic.twitter.com/gQfEEx0YWA— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 18, 2019
Adderley wasn’t the last line of defense on both of these tackles, but it shows that he has the right technique to square up and make the tackle. That’s important as he transitions to the NFL.
Fit with Carolina
I won’t be doing grades this year, but I can understand why many think Adderley will be a first round pick. If Carolina pulls the trigger that early, I will not complain.
General Manager Marty Hurney has to find more young athletes on defense. Carolina’s passing defense was awful in 2018, which can be attributed to the pass rush and having Mike Adams play a deep safety role. Adderley has the range, IQ, and athletic traits to make a difference as a rookie.