If former Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III was taken by the Texans with the 33rd overall pick, nobody would have batted an eye. That fact that the Texans took him with the 83rd overall pick, then, makes this potentially one of the biggest steals of the draft. I shot a few questions over to Eric Murtaugh of SB Nation’s hub for Notre Dame football, One Foot Down, to try to get an idea of what to look forward to with Nix joining Houston's "Death Row" defensive line.
1. Louis Nix seems to bring a lot of personality along with his 330 pound frame. What can we expect in the sound byte department in the next few years from Nix?
Oh, you're getting quite the personality. I think his size and position add to his allure but he's very engaging and a fun loving person. He was pretty active on social media and through Notre Dame's Fighting Irish Digital Media over the past two years so it feels like we're losing what amounts to a celebrity as well as a football player.
I think it's important to note that Nix has a good heart and the attention he receives off the field comes from a good place. Perhaps some NFL teams were turned off by it. If they were, they made a mistake. You don't find too many players of his caliber that are this open and engaging without any ego and off the field problems.
2. The biggest knock on Nix in the pre-draft process was the health of his knees and his overall fitness. This piece by Dr. Dave Siebert suggests that Nix will make a full recovery with minimal long-term complications if given time to heal, yet we still saw Nix fall all the way to the third round. What is your take on the health of Nix' knee? Should Texans fans be concerned?
I don't think there should be that much concern. As far as knee injuries go it could be a lot worse and once he had the surgery he should be fine with enough rest. Maybe they should have done something differently after the 2012 season or shut him down earlier during the 2013 season, but he looks to have made a full recovery.
3. What is Nix's greatest strength? Greatest weakness?
Nix greatest strength is the ability to take on double teams while also having the quickness to shoot through a gap and be a disruptive run stopper. His greatest weakness is that he's a nose guard who will struggle to make plays if the ball isn't in his vicinity.
There were some moments throughout his career when Nix flashed scary athleticism, burst, and strength. The effort is 100% all the time too. He will chase plays down the sidelines and pick up some tackles. I know people will say he isn't fast (c'mon, he's 330 lbs.); I'm just saying don't be surprised when he makes a tackle that a nose guard has no business making.
Nix could use more strength and stamina, but what rookie doesn't? Especially this past year, he spent a little too much time on the ground and wasn't as effective taking on double teams. Whether that was his health or the fact that he was playing more snaps than the previous year isn't known all that well. I think if you can use him the right way and keep him fresh, it will play more to this strengths.
4. On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you to watch J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Louis Nix on the field at the same time?
That sounds like one heck of a young defensive line. Nix is your prototypical nose guard and that should hopefully free up some space for either Watt or Clowney. I'm not sure Nix will be great right off the bat, but I'm guessing he's going to force double teams pretty early in his career. If he can do that, I can't imagine the damage the defensive ends will be doing.
5. How would you grade the selection of Nix at 83rd overall?
It's an outright steal. There's something to be said about Nix not being able to play all three downs. Duly noted. That doesn't mean he can't be a great player. There are an awful lot of snaps to be had on non-passing downs in the NFL.
So, it may be true that Nix doesn't fit the NFL like he would have 10 to 20 years ago when it was a more run dominated league. Still, he's going to a team that can fit him in on the defense, and that's half the battle for a lot young players. Having superstars like Watt and Clowney up front with you is only going to help his development too.
Bottom line, Nix is the type of true nose guard that comes around once every 7 or 8 years. Men his size just aren't supposed to move that quickly and be that athletic. As long as he stays healthy, he should have a very long and productive NFL career.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the thought of Whitney Mercilus, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Brian Cushing getting even just a modicum of space to work with while Nix eats blocks makes me all tingly in me nethers. Texans fans have wanted a human wrecking ball in the middle of their defense for years, and they finally got one. Oh, happy day!
Thanks again to Eric and One Foot Down for getting me all frothy for next season to start. Just three more months to go….three more months…