Before the Chiefs draft an entire new draft class to analyze, let’s take a look back at 2016. Our next Rookie Review is Dadi Nicolas.
The maxim says that you can never have enough pass rushers in the NFL, so it’s not surprising that John Dorsey decided to snag another developmental option with his final pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Dadi Nicolas punished quarterbacks to the tune of 17 career sacks at Virginia Tech, and despite the drop in production during his senior season (when he was moved to defensive end) and a lack of strength, Dorsey liked the raw skill set.
6-3, 235 lbs.
Key college stats
17 sacks, 35.5 tackles for loss in his Virginia Tech career
"“The Chiefs are taking a late-round shot on a long, viney pass rusher. The rest of his game is underdeveloped but coaches will like the natural tools.” -Mark Dulgerian"
One year later
Nicolas is still another year from making any real impact at the NFL level, and there’s not much to build on from last year. It’s not like his rookie season brought him a ton of reps to serve as a foundation, since Nicolas only appeared in 28 defensive snaps and even only 10 percent of all special teams snaps. In short, Nicolas largely sat and watched his entire rookie season, before finally suffering a season-ending injury of a ruptured patella tendon against the Chargers at season’s end.
That’s not a bad thing. The Chiefs have good players for him to watch and learn from, including Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Nicolas has shown his ability to get to the passer at the collegiate level, and another year of film study, personal mentoring, coaching input and the weight room could help Nicolas emerge from his cocoon.
Dorsey knew from the beginning this was an all upside play with a larger chance of failure than success. But if you can grow and cultivate an impact pass rusher from a sixth round slot, that’s a chance you take every year.
A complete unknown.