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With the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaching, teams are finalizing their draft boards. Defensive tackle is an obvious need for the New England Patriots, and one name to keep an eye on is Notre Dame’s Louis Nix. Nix is an incredibly powerful player who has a body similar to a younger Vince Wilfork. He has the making of a natural heir to Wilfork at the nose, and he would be a perfect fit for the Patriots who look like they are simply going to draft the best player available.
Nix, who measured at 6’2″ 331 lbs at the combine, is very quick for a man his size. Like Wilfork, he has an incredible burst off the ball, and can eat up double teams. He projects more naturally as a 3-4 NT than a DT in the Patriots 4-3 system, and it’s doubtful the coaching staff would pair he and Wilfork on the field together too often. However, Nix has undeniable talent, and could begin the season learning behind Wilfork (much like Wilfork did his rookie season).
Regarded by many as the best run-stuffing tackle in the draft, there are still concerns about Nix’s pass rushing ability. One major knock on him is that he sometimes plays too high, and when he does he usually gets blown off the line. Another concern teams have is durability. He played through chronic knee pain last season, and had surgery near the end of the season. He’s recovered well from surgery, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
Nix is certainly a player the Patriots would be happy to take with the 29th pick, however it’s unlikely he’ll still be there. It will be an upset if Nix isn’t taken in the top 25, and he’s risen to as high as 10th to Tennessee in some mocks. However, if he happens to slide, Louis Nix is a name that Patriots fans should be thrilled to hear if it’s called with the 29th pick on May 8th.