Football

Cleveland Browns select Penn State DE Carl Nassib in third round

The Browns selected Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib on Friday night in the third round (No. 65 overall) of the NFL Draft.

Nassib led the nation in sacks (15.5) and forced fumbles (six) last season. He won the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year award.

Here are notes on Nassib from NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler’s draft guide:

BACKGROUND: A no-star recruit as a prep player, Nassib battled injuries his junior and senior years in high school and didn’t receive any scholarship offers from FBS-level programs — was a captain on the basketball team. Motivated by his family to give college football a try, he walked on at Penn State and redshirted in 2011. After not seeing any action in 2012, Nassib saw limited action as a sophomore and junior backup, combining for a pair of sacks in limited duty. With several starters on the defensive line departing State College after the 2014 season, Nassib earned a starting job as a senior and set a new school record for sacks (15.5), earning the Big Ten’s Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year Award. He also earned First Team All-Big Ten and All-America honors, finishing with 46 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles. Nassib earned an invitation to the 2016 Senior Bowl.

STRENGTHS: Tall, long athlete with a large wingspan .. .has worked hard in the weight room to fill out his frame, adding 60 pounds since high school ... improved snap anticipation and often the first linemen off the ball ... long strides to eat up grass in a hurry off the edge and in pursuit to chase down plays away from the line of scrimmage .... comfortable on his feet to pedal, stay balanced in reverse and cover space...very good initial momentum to launch off the line and convert his speed to power when he extends his arms into blockers ... try-hard hustler with a motor that never quits...humble, spiritual and football is important to him ... lives in the weight room and the concept of hard work was instilled in him at a young age...intense practice player with a team-first attitude ... smart on the field and off — two-time Academic All-Big Ten and graduated in December with a 3.5 GPA and degree in biology (plans to attend medical school one day to be a doctor) ... athletic bloodlines — father (Gilbert) played tight end at Delaware and won a Division II national title in 1979, mother (Mary) was a walk-on volleyball player at Villanova, older brother (Ryan) was a quarterback at Syracuse and 2013 fourth-round pick of the New York Giants and younger brother (John) is a defensive end at Delaware ... impressive senior season on film and on the stat sheet, setting a school record for sacks (despite playing only four combined snaps in the final two regular season games), including at least one sack in 10 straight games.

WEAKNESSES: Straight-linish athlete with some hip tightness ... needs to better keep his balance through contact and around the edge, ending up on the ground too often ... struggles to protect himself from low blocks ... football instincts are undeveloped and he’s still figuring out how to string together pass rush moves — he gets to the pocket often, but doesn’t always know why or how ... goes hard each snap, but needs to introduce more patience and purpose behind his movements ... will over-run the pocket and needs to play with more of a plan ... needs to keep his head on a swivel to stretch his vision beyond what’s in front of him ... will abandon the edge and can be washed out of plays in the run game ... only one year as a starter (never started in high school or college prior to 2015) ... minor durability issues — missed parts of the final two regular season games in 2015 due to a hamstring injury.

SUMMARY: A one-year starter, Nassib lined up predominantly as a left defensive end (six through nine technique) in a three point stance in Penn State’s four-man front and occasionally dropped in zone coverage. A late bloomer, he arrived at State College as a 215-pound freshman and developed into a 275-pound record-setting senior pass rusher, working hard behind the scenes to prepare for his chance, which finally arrived in 2015. A self-starter, Nassib is a coach’s dream with his work ethic, motivation and intelligence and he has the size and length that translates well to the next level. He plays with his hair on fire, but unless he competes with more control and strategy, he will have more negative than positive snaps against NFL competition. Although he needs more seasoning and likely won’t start from day one, Nassib is a classic overachiever with the tools to compete for a NFL starting role by year two, fitting both even and odd fronts.

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