Derrick Nnadi eats double teams with his ability to use his natural leverage (he’s short.) He uses his strong anchor to hold his ground while being blocked by multiple 300-plus pound linemen. He seems to do well diagnosing blocking schemes, which shows that he prepares himself well before stepping onto the field. He is also one of the more active interior defenders, attempting to run down ball carriers from sideline to sideline. Although he is short (for an NFL lineman), he is still able to get his hands inside of a blockers pads and long arm him to keep his distance. He is able to get a hand free while still being engaged to get a paw on the ball carrier at the point of attack to make the tackle. Nnadi is tenacious when lined up directly over top of the center, and does a good job keeping his legs churning to collapse the pocket straight up the middle.
Nnadi’s strength of natural leverage can also be a weakness, as there will be questions about what kind of length he possesses. He doesn’t always show that he has a contingency in pass rush snaps, which could lead to teams not viewing him as a complete three down player. There are times where he is a little bit late off of the snap, which allows better angles for blockers who are not right on top of him. He also has issues against chop blocks, not being quick enough to back his legs out and use the blockers back to stay up.
Nnadi could have left after his junior season and been a pretty high pick, but valued his education so much that he decided to come back and get his degree. He could be a pillar as a one technique for years to come for a team at the next level. I think he shows the athleticism and pursuit of improvement in interviews that he will continue to improve his pass rush technique and plan of attack to round into a three down defensive tackle.