NFL Draft: Military Bowl

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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech

DE Dadi Nicholas, JR #90 (6’4, 231, 4.55)

Scouting report – Explosive pass rusher who leads Tech with 9 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. He’s light at just 231 pounds so will have to move to OLB in the NFL and will probably be limited to 3-4 alignment or a scheme that uses a LEO backer like the Seahawks. Nicholas will need to gain weight, but he has supposedly been timed as fast as 4.40 in the 40 which will get NFL teams attention. His ability to get to the QB is what will get Nicholas drafted, but he was pretty solid against the run this year as well. He’s a high upside prospect that could take a year or two to develop.

NFL comparison: Bruce Irvin

Projection: 3rd round

DT Luther Maddy, SR #92 (6’0, 292, 5.02)

Scouting report – Undersized for most DT schemes, but pretty close to the average NFL 3-tech. Maddy has an explosive first step, uses his hands well to ditch blockers, has a effective pass rush moves, and shows surprising acceleration when closing on QBs. He’s not a liability against the run, but his quickness, light feet and pass rush ability are what will get Maddy drafted in the middle rounds.

NFL comparison: Earl Mitchell

Projection: 3rd-4th

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

SS Kyshoen Jarrett, SR #34 (5’11, 192, 4.57)

Scouting report – Well rounded safety prospect who has great range in coverage, is a big hitter, and is solid in run support. Jarrett is small for an NFL strong safety, so he may need to switch to free safety but has the coverage technique to make the switch seamlessly. His lack of size may hurt his draft stock a bit, but Jarrett plays much bigger then he’s listed, is an explosive hitter and has taken down bigger players regularly in college. Jarrett doesn’t have many weaknesses, but if there is one it’s his ball skills. He struggles at times to track the ball and doesn’t intercept many passes though does break up a lot of pass plays.

Projection: 3rd-4th round

FS Derrick Bonner, SR #8 (6’0, 194, 4.56)

Scouting report – Elite athlete (38″ vertical) who was versatile enough to play safety, corner and linebacker for the Hokies in over 40 starts. Bonner has been a big time play-maker in his career, but gambles too often and gets burned occasionally. Like fellow safety Jarrett, Bonner is pretty good at everything but doesn’t have great ball skills. Bonner has good range in coverage, is aggressive in run support, and if he can be more consistent he could become an NFL starter at either safety position. Worst case, Bonner’s athleticism should make him an asset on special teams.

Projection: 4th-5th round

* NFL comparison are based on potential ceiling