As far as the safety position goes; there have been all types to come out of the collegiate ranks in recent years, each with their own niche in the way they play, but none are generational talents. Most teams have elected to switch to a “System Fit” mentality at skill positions which adversely will make a lot of those same teams miss out on some ELITE athletes.
Our very own Carolina Panthers are guilty of this narrow minded approach, especially at the safety position.
However, the signing of Eric Reid during the 2018 season, signaled to Panther Nation that the day’s of obsolete safety play are coming to an end in Carolina. Mike Adams will not be resigned after providing the team with invaluable knowledge and veteran leadership. Rashann Gaulden could wind up being a solid player, but his development was always projected to take a while, and it will. Colin Jones? Yeah… just.. no.
We need a day one starter and contributor to pair alongside Reid. Resigning Reid to a multi-year deal will be a top priority for the front office in the coming weeks once the new league year begins. It is very likely the team chooses to fill the other vacant safety spot through the draft, and this is a really good draft to have a need at the position.
Enter Nasir Adderley, safety from the University of Delaware. This kid is lightning in a bottle! He was making game changing plays at UD and even cracked the sports center Top 10 multiple times for some flat out unreal plays with the ball in his hands both as a defender and returner.
Adderly checks in at #1 for his amazing return here.
Adderley is rising up draft boards fast so the Panthers would likely need to spend a pick in the first two rounds to secure his services.
School: University of Delaware
Projected 40: 4.49-4.5
Draft Projection: 2nd round (Rising)
Games Played/Started: 41
Tackles: 226, Solo: 148
Pass Deflections: 31
Range – One of the most important traits for a Safety is the ability to disrupt plays from sideline to sideline while keeping everything in front of them. Adderley is long and excels at always staying over the top of the play. He uses his short area quickness to close out on contested throwing windows, and receivers/runners in dominant fashion, he is indeed, RANGY.
Ball Skills – When you’re a DB that’s elite in coverage, QB’s will tend to look to another part of the field to throw the ball. Adderley experienced a lack of targets in 2018 but was still able to snag 3 INT’s, and deflected 9 passes in 8 games played. He is an explosive athlete who loves to high point the football and make a play for his team. Adderley has shown the ability to make plays on the ball his entire college career, and looks to continue at the next level.
Coverage – Adderley had a cornerback pedigree before he played safety collegiality. This foundation has made him a absolute monster in coverage and has allowed him the ability to play single high or at the line of scrimmage with ease. He is patient when the ball is snapped while analyzing from a deep zone position, and mirrors receivers in man with ease due to his elite footwork. He is physical with his hands but is not handsy once the route develops, he flat out just takes receivers out of the play pretty often and that’s exactly what you want in your safety — an ERASER!
Athleticism – It will be fun to watch this dude perform at the combine. He is a phenomenal athlete who will test extremely well. The evidence may be the most present in his short area speed times, i.e. 3 cone drill, 10 yard split, and vertical jump. Adderley plays with smooth hips and quick feet. He can stop on a dime and change directions with ease — very Troy Polamulu esque with the way he flashes into the screen with pure athleticism and force.
Physicality/Tackling – Adderley is a Philly native, and that inherent toughness is quite apparent in the way he lights up offensive players with ease and consistency. He seems to have the ability to slow the play down during the middle of it and make the safest/smartest tackle, the thing is he’s so fast to the ball that most of the time that results in huge hits, yet he is still very sound fundamentally.
Run Support – Don’t even try setting the edge against this guy, he will obliterate offensive tackles at the point and turn ball carriers back into his help if he can’t put them down himself first. Adderley is everything a Defensive Coordinator could possibly wish for as far as a total willingness to take away the run game. It will be a different story for him in the NFL when taking on pulling guards and tackles protecting the edge, but the fact that he doe’s not shy away or mind banging with the hog mollies only adds to his rising draft stock.
Route Recognition – Adderley proved through his 4 year career at Delaware that he possess wizard-like play analysis skills. This probably was developed through Film study and not Dark Magic, but you can absolutely say that’s true because of the 10 interceptions and almost 40 pass deflections in his career. He quickly dissects offensive concepts and reads tendencies, because of this he always has a chance to make a play on the ball. Over the middle he constantly annoyed receivers at the catch point and broke up many passes this way.
Versatility – Nasir spent time at three different positions in the Secondary throughout his career. This type of versatility is something the Panthers should absolutely require and put emphasis on as they look to make the defense younger, meaner, and faster. Adderley played plenty of single high coverage in college as well as some time at outside corner and slot corner. Him knowing the responsibilities of two other positions will only help his learning curve, and with the communication and alignment on the back end.
Conclusion – I’d hate to be watching another team play this upcoming season and hear Adderley’s name get’s called for his first significant play as a pro. It’s high time that the Panthers spent a top draft pick on a safety, as it is a premium position in today’s NFL. This kid might even make the front office spend the 16th pick on him — he’s that good. Regardless he would be half of what could be one of the best safety tandem’s in the league, certainly one of the best duos in Carolina history.