I truly love draft season. So much that, instead of waiting, I’m going to cover my second draft prospect in two days (here’s the first, in case you missed it). I ran a poll on my Twitter, and the Ravens Flock wanted to see a snapshot of N’Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State). Well, as the great American (maybe?) poet once said – you can’t always get what you want.
Baltimore needs a new Free Safety, regardless of whether Eric Weddle leaves in 2019 or 2020. Enter Nasir Adderley, who I’ve taken to calling ‘Nas’ – as in the GOAT rap artist, big shoes for Adderley to fill. Let’s take a look at why Nas would be so special in Baltimore.
— 5 foot 11 inches
–– 200 pounds
— 21 years old
Everybody remembers Matt Elam, right? How hyped he was, and how he was supposed to step in for the GOAT, Ed Reed? And how he… y’know. Didn’t? Here’s a chance for the Ravens to take a much better shot at filling the position. And if promo code canada offered odds on Eric DeCosta making such a move, it would represent a fairly safe bet.
Ravens fans have long cried out for more physicality from their defensive backfield (specifically the safety position). Nas will crack your head. Much like Kelvin Harmon’s draft snapshot, you’ll see me drool over the aggressiveness found in the Delaware safety. He has no qualms about taking on the most physical offensive lineman and proceeding to make him question his life choices. He uses equal parts hands and pads to escape blocks, and has the speed to get around the mass of man standing between him and a TFL. (Keep in mind, this is a free safety that’s able to do this, not a strong safety.)
Which plays into my next point…
Nas does not give up. He doesn’t care about the scoreboard – he just wants to do his part. He wants to be the heart and soul of a defensive backfield. Speaking of Reed, his “I put my heart in this s$!t” clip comes to mind.
Opposing offenses need to be ready for 60 minutes of effort from him, as he will chase down every single play.
And I do mean chase – as stated below.
You hear it all the time: ‘He’s all over the field.’ Nas is the definition of that. He looks to be a low-4.5, high-4.4 guy, and his game speed is probably faster than that. He’s a true sideline-to-sideline, front-to-back free safety, and can be involved in almost every single finish, if he wants to be.
He can start on the opposite side of the field, and get to a secure-it situation in time to knock the ball loose, or wrestle it away.
Which brings me to my next point.
Adderley had four interceptions in 2018. Not a gaudy number by any means, but he didn’t have a plethora of opportunity, either – quarterbacks decided to target other areas of the field. His previously mentioned physicality plays a part here, as he will fight for any ball that he thinks he can get a hand on, generally at the catch-point.
His timing is outrageous, and he ‘looks in’ passes, a trait that is generally found in wide receivers. He’s had more than one insanely hard catch throughout his career, and has a ‘see ball, get ball’ mentality in addition to his ‘kill the ball carrier’ mentality.
This is probably the most important trait for a free safety to have, and while man-to-man film is rare, he has shown the ability to be spectacular in coverage over the back end. All the previous traits combine within his coverage ability, and he’s quick enough to cover a wideout, while being physical enough to cover a tight end (where the Ravens have struggled over the years). He has a good sense of where the ball is going, while also showing a high football IQ in the bait game.
A free safety, from time-to-time, will be asked to wear the Magic Green Dot, and call plays on the field (see Weddle, 2018). You’ll hear (ad nauseum) that fans are worried about ‘who will call plays’ if Weddle isn’t on the team (he had the MGD when C.J. Mosley went down against the Bengals, and kept it through most of the rest of the season, though Wink Martindale at one point in December said that he decided who would have it on a game-to-game basis).
Enter Nas. He has an innate ability to diagnose plays, recognize routes, and call them out on the fly – everything that you’d look for in a Green Dot (not the prepaid card). Assuming Weddle stays through 2019, Nas can only get better at the mental chess game that cerebral safeties have to play with the signal callers.
Nasir Adderley projects to be the guy. He’s your prototypical free safety with minimal weaknesses. Not all top-tier talent comes from top-tier schools, and this is a guy who will give every bit of his effort on every single play. If I’m the Ravens scouts (I really should be one), I’m watching Nas very closely, and have him high on my draft board.
He has the skills to play free and strong safety, and he has experience at cornerback. Nifty little piece of information there. He absolutely crushes it on special teams, and has some value at returner (shown here [Shoutout to NFL Draft Diamonds for the video use]).
I know people yearn for offensive players. I know that free safety isn’t the ‘sexy’ pick. But in counter – people said Ed Reed was ‘just a guy, no pizzazz.’ If the Ravens want to continue their streak of defensive dominance, and also want to shore up the middle (and maybe cover a tight end once in awhile), they should be galloping to the podium if Nas is available at 22.