With the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday evening, we are looking at some of the Big 12’s best prospects and where they might end up in the draft. We’ve already looked at offensive linemen and tight ends, receivers, and quarterbacks and running backs. So, now let’s look at a few of the Big 12’s most promising defensive players in the 2017 draft; starting with few of the defensive line prospects.
DE – West Virginia
PROS: Receiving honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in 2016, Nwachukwu has a combination of explosiveness, agility, and balance which allows him to be an effective pass rusher. He displays impressive closing speed and is extremely effective in shooting gaps, and a great amount of stamina and persistence in his pursuit. He’s also an aggressive tackler with the ability to wrap up to completion.
CONS: Nwachukwu lacks the size and strength for the prototypical NFL defensive end position. He has some difficulty clearing blocks and needs to diversify his pass-rush toolbox. He’ll require more work in maintaining his anchored position at the initial point of contact.
OUTLOOK: Nwachukwu didn’t play football until his junior year of high school and appears to have strong growth potential. He has a tremendous motor and appears driven to succeed. His attributes can help him overcome his size limitations and find a home as a situational pass rusher as he continues to grow. Experts expect him to go in the 4th or 5th round.