Carl Nassib, DE Penn State
After seeing relatively no snaps on the defensive side of the ball in his first two years with Penn State, Carl Nassib surprised many with the level of production in his first year within a starting role at defensive end, as he led the nation in sacks (15.5) in 2015. Prior to his senior season, Nassib had just two career sacks in two years. Nassib, a former walk-on with the Nittany Lions, saw a majority of his snaps on special teams before he was inserted into the starting lineup in his final year.
At 6’7”, 277 pounds, Nassib surprises offensive linemen with his ability to explode off the snap and attack the linear scrimmage with great quickness and power. Though he has the build of a powerful bull rusher, Nassib will often bend around the edge of opposing linemen in route to the quarterback. Similarly to Bullard, Nassib’s high-motor and relentless effort will often have a positive effect on his numbers in the stat sheet, as he simply doesn’t give up on the play.
As a run defender, Nassib lacks great play strength to anchor in and survive double teams, but he can be disruptive when asked to explode through a gap or attack a guard’s outside edge. With little experience at defensive end, Nassib needs time to develop as an edge-setter against the run, but he has all of the physical tools to make it happen at the next level.
Also, Nassib benefited from a relatively poor schedule in terms of his level of competition, while he rarely made his presence felt against some of the better teams in the NCAA. According to PFF.com, Nassib earned a negative grade against Georgia and saw just four combined snaps between Penn State’s games against Michigan and Michigan State due to injury.
Having just one year of top-tier production will obviously steer teams away from taking Nassib high in the draft, but his relatively untapped potential could lead to him becoming a late-round steal if he can continue to develop his technique at the next level.
If Edwards Jr.’s health checks out, Oakland can afford to take a high-upside defensive prospect like Nassib late in the draft, and if he proves that he is capable of improving his technique and adding mass to his frame, he should be able to find a home on the Raiders’ roster.
Expect him to come off the board somewhere on Day 3 if Oakland were going to bet on Nassib’s size and potential.