Position Ranking: #3
Strengths: A disruptive interior pass rusher; Nevis has the athleticism to release quickly off the snap of the ball and penetrate the line of scrimmage. Extends arms and closes quickly once he gets inside the backfield. Uses his hands and arms well to fight for position, showing a quick swim/arm & over move to work into the backfield and fight off attempts to sustain blocking.
Will work to create trash at the line of scrimmage by dropping down and slightly tugging defender to close the inside running lane. Very aggressive in his play and gives maximum effort consistently; pursuing hard to the opposite side of the field. Keeps his legs churning and arms moving when walled off on initial release. Moves well laterally and shows effectiveness on inside stunts. Good tackler at the line of scrimmage; wraps and falls down. Emotional player and encourages teammates.
Needs Improvement: Strength and size will need to improve in order to be consistently effective on inside runs. Technique is off/on and he’ll be driven off the line or neutralized in his pass rush when he releases high off the snap. Has a hard time against double teams; doesn’t apply much technique to fight through. Strictly a one gap player. Wasn’t asked to drop into coverage in games I observed.
Bottom Line: Drake Nevis flashes the ability to be a good pass rusher at the NFL level. He has the prototypical skill and mind set to be let loose as 1 and 3 technique pass rusher from a 4-3 alignment. Just give him his one gap responsibility and let him fly off the snap off the ball. When Nevis’ technique was on (feet under hips, low pad level) and he was able to anticipate the snap count, he showed that he was a consistent threat in his pass rush, while forcing double teams.
His playing demeanor and non-stop motor is evident in his play, allowing him to regularly get around the football. Nevis’ size is a drawback to his overall value as he does have a hard time consistently anchoring one gap against the run, and it looks like his frame is maxed out in size if he hopes to maintain his overall quickness and athleticism. It will be important for Nevis to be in the right system to be effective, and he won’t be equally valued by all teams. Overall, his athleticism and playing demeanor isn’t matched by many tackles in this class and his size and skills indicate that he may be able to work in as a 4-3 end on some occasions.
Draft Projection: 2nd round.