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Louis Nix Has Big Body, Big Personality, but Does He Have Big-Play Ability?

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Louis Nix Has Big Body, Big Personality, but Does He Have Big-Play Ability?

This past season, Notre Dame defensive lineman Louis Nix suffered a torn meniscus, had surgery in November and missed five games.

At the NFL Combine, the media was predictably interested in his recovery as Nix sits on the doorstep of a career in professional football. "How's your knee?" a reporter asked.

"It’s fantastic," responded Nix. "How’s your knee?”

That's Louis Nix in a nutshell, a football player with an engaging personality and someone that doesn't just think he's funny—he's sincerely and legitimately funny. A future in comedy probably wouldn't be out of the question if it weren't for the lure and potential of millions of dollars in professional athletics.

Wherever he's drafted, Nix will instantly become a fan favorite and a must-follow on Twitter for his many quips and sense of humor.

Ultimately, however, the 6' 1" and 331-pound behemoth will be judged by his on-field performance and not his comedic value.

When the Green Bay Packers made only a one-year contract offer to B.J. Raji in the offseason, they failed to make a long-term commitment to another plus-sized defensive lineman, leaving the future of the nose tackle posiition in doubt.

If the Packers have reservations about Raji or simply want light a fire under him, they might consider Nix with the 21st overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and did have a formal meeting with him at the Combine.

At his best, Nix was a force on the 2012 Fighting Irish national championship runner-up team, making 50 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, two sacks, five passes defensed and a forced fumble. Along with players Manti Te'o and Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame had one of the best defenses in the country.

Despite the sensational 2012 campaign, one problem in projecting Nix at the next level is he only has a single season of elite-level production. Part of it can be chalked up to injury, but Nix has never shown to be a big-time pass rush threat. His weight has also fluctuated, perhaps at times getting too big for his own good.

"Some teams and general managers really like him," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. "He's a prototypical nose tackle, big kid. He's got good short area quickness for a 330-pound guy, but he had the knee last year. He flashed but didn't play at a high level all the time. He's got to be a little bit lighter; he's got to play at 330."

In three seasons at Notre Dame, Nix accumulated only 2.5 sacks before declaring the Draft following his junior year. As someone of comparable size, Raji had 12 sacks in three seasons at Boston College.

The limited big-play ability might put a ceiling on Nix's value, at least as a potential first round draft choice. Nix might turn out to be a great run-stuffing nose tackle that can hold his ground against the rush, but first-round talents tend to be the types that make sacks and force turnovers.

It's a risk/reward scenario for NFL teams as they consider where to take Nix. Should he be able to reprise his 2012 campaign, most teams probably wouldn't mind investing a first round selection into the Notre Dame product.

But if Nix has more injury-plauged seasons like he did in 2013 when he made 27 tackles, just two for a loss and zero sacks, observers would question his worth as a first-round pick, not unlike Raji this past year.

As far as the weight issue goes, Nix said teams like to see the smaller, 331-pound version of himself, and he plans on keeping it that way. 

Nix bemoans the Five Guys burgers and Cajun fries he's had to cut from his diet but admits he's even started to take a liking to salads.

“No dressing," said Nix. "I eat it like chips. I just pick it up."

Ask him if feels any different at a lighter weight, and you'll get another typical Nix response.

“Yeah man, my stomach doesn’t stick out as much," said Nix. "That’s kind of nice. I like that part. My thighs got a little smaller. I just feel sexier, man.”

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I have seen Nix mocked as high as #9 and as low as #39. If I recall, Nix is a run-stuffing 2-gapper, which Capers has used in the past. Not too many NTs in this draft. DaQuan Jones projected to be 2nd round, Ellis, McCullers and Carrethers (3/4th round), and others later (for the die hard Badger fans, Bo Allen possibly in the 6th). Jones and McCullers have height (6'4" and 6'7"). Most of the others are 6'1 or 6'2".

GB doesn't have too much behind Raji at NT, (Boyd, Guion? and Jolly if re-signed), and Raji has a 1 yr contract. I am not a fan of Raji and hope GB (and Stroh) are right about him at NT. But I'm not sure I want Raji back even if he has a good year. Nix's meniscus tear is of some concern, but my limited understanding is that long-term success rates for repairs are high, in the 90 per cent range.

If TT likes Nix, I wouldn't criticize TT for taking Nix at 21 (always depending on who else is available), but I could see TT trading down or waiting until later to address NT.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I was thinking the same about Raji. I think, no matter what happens this season he is gone. I don't think we go DL round 1 or 2 unless a few top prospects really fall and/or targeted LB(s) or S are gone. Before the Raji and Peppers signing I was kind of looking into Nix,Tuitt and Hageman.

ben's picture

Raji and Hageman at least bring something special to the table, ELITE measureables.

Stroh's picture

Drea... You think if Raji has a season even close to his '10 season the Packers wouldn't sign him to a 4 yr contract? I think his future in GB is in his hands. He's playing his natural NT position for the 1st time since '10. He was underwhelming playing out of position, but if he plays good to very good NT next year, I can't see the Packers not re-signing him.

I've thought all along, and still do that if Mosley, Shazier the Safeties aren't on the board that Hageman would be the likely pick. And w/ Peppers and Datone they would be able to bring him along slowly. I would love to see Tuitt in the 2nd if he makes it down into the 40's.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I think if he plays in his '10 form and become a free agent next season he can demand the money he really wants and will head to a 4-3 team to get his money and stats. That's just me...

Stroh's picture

Maybe... But he was a team first guy the past few years playing out of position and didn't say a word about it. He just did what the team asked him to do every day, every game. If he wanted he could have created a controversy by talking about it. The fact he didn't indicates he's a team oriented player. Not a selfish stats guy. Just my opinion.

MarkinMadison's picture

If he turned down $8M/yr. he either wants larger money or a different role. The only reason he is not gone already is that no one else was willing to pay him even $4M/yr. I'm not saying he's a bad guy. I'm not saying he's not a team guy. But if he looks anything like '10 and IF someone else offers more money he will take it. His next contract will likely be the largest of his career.

Stroh's picture

He wanted a different role. He played DE the past 3 yrs and he wanted to be the NT, which he is going to be this year. Its the position he was very effective at in '10. Since he's played more DE than anything where he wasn't effective. Playing out of position the past 3 yrs has pretty much killed his market in FA, since his play over that time at DE wasn't very good.

DrealynWilliams's picture

We're not saying he doesn't have the talent. We know the talent and the potential. I just think the past 2-3 seasons got to him and a part of him would like a change of scenery. That's why he denied that contract extension that was offered. Would I love for him to stay? Of course. I'm all for keeping day-1 (original) Packers.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I have mixed feelings on Raji. Played a lot of snaps, played out of position and didn't complain. Argues that he is a team player. I hope he plays great!

I've seen Hageman mocked as low as upper 20s & as high as #51, & Tuitt in the upper 30s to low 40s. I am hoping that a someone TT can't pass on is there at #21.

ben's picture

If TT likes Nix, I WOULD criticize TT for taking Nix at 21.

Overweight, poor measurables, suspect motor, underwhelming tape, injury concern. I have never really heard of anybody that high on him. I think he could fall, mid-2nd to late 2nd.

I want nothing to do with him and would much rather take Zach Kerr in the 5th and Beau Allen in the 6th. (even Ellis in the 4th)

DT/NT:Zack Kerr, Good production, Great measurables, & a Johnny Jolly demeanor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As0ACtkIgZc

ebongreen's picture

I would imagine that the Packers are hoping they don't need (or want) Nix in Round 1. What they want is for Raji to be the NT of the present and the future - they have enough holes to fill elsewhere.

They'd be more likely, IMO, to draft Hageman from MN than Nix at the same spot, and wait until later to pick a developmental backup to sit behind BJ. Hageman would be their next-gen Julius Peppers; BJ ain't exactly over the hill. If Nix were somehow to slip to Rd 2-3, I can see grabbing him, but I also don't see that happening.

ben's picture

Hageman's tape and measureables do remind me of Peppers. I'd take him rounds before Nix, but am hoping for neither.

Stroh's picture

Signing Raji all but eliminated the Packers from drafting Nix. I can't see that happening now. Before signing Raji possibly, not after.

Hageman is a distinct possibility depending on the ILB and Safties being available. They still need another true 34 DE and Hageman/Jones would be a terrific duo and provide great pass rush.

jh9's picture

Looking at what the Packers need and the strength of this draft, I expect TT will draft a DT to back-up Raji with their first pick in the 3rd round. I've heard they are interested in Will Sutton.

Stroh's picture

Sutton is a clone of Daniels except a little bigger. He put on too much weight his last year at ASU and his play suffered. I'm not sure he can be effective playing at 300+ lbs. He was great at 285-290 a year earlier tho. Personally, I don't think Sutton can play NT in the NFL. He would be just like Daniels... Short squatty inside pass rusher.

I think it would be a mistake to draft Sutton. He needs to go to a 43 team and play under DT.

jh9's picture

I'm just the messenger. The Packers have talked to Sutton and according to the research I've done, he could be available with the first pick in the 3rd round. Who knows... they might pick a different DT but I think they will use the first pick in the 3rd round for a DT.

Stroh's picture

I've read the same thing. I just don't know how he would fit in w/ the Packers D. I've watched Sutton quite a bit, living the the Phx/Scottsdale area. Good player and good pass rusher if his weight is under control. I just don't think he fits. I know they've shown some interest tho, Unless they think he could gain more weight and be a good NT.

Mojo's picture

They already have this guy on the roster - Raji. If not Raji then resign Pickett. As far as the first round, I say nix Nix.

Birney the baker's picture

I agree Mr. Mojo Risin'!! We don't need a comedian on this team. Our defense was a joke last year. Bringing a joker to the squad won't help. We need a serious professional player, not a fat big guy who's quick with one liners. This guy has Justin Harrell written all over him. Nothing funny about that.

Nashville Packer's picture

If NIx somehow slips to the Packers' second round pick, I'd be happy if they took him. He's probably undervalued a bit because the injury wrecked his 2013 season but he seems to be recovered.

Surely Packer fans don't look at last year's defense and think, 'We'll be just fine against the run.' This team needs as much help against the run as possible. Nix has shown he can do that. He's just not worth it at No. 21.

4thand1's picture

What gets me is the rap that players take plays off. Is it like they take plays off in meaningless games or every game? If its true then it makes no sense. Every college player should do everything to make his draft stock rise you would think. Is it scouts trying to drive the player's draft stock down? You seem to hear this quite a bit with a lot of players. The Packers got burned by an injured Justin Harrell, WTF evaluated him medically?

4thand1's picture

LMAO, 1 dislike. What a joke.

4thand1's picture

C'mon you pansies, get it removed.

Allan Murphy's picture

#1 has to be best player available .

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