Safeties – along with cornerbacks – will wrap up the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine Monday with on-field timing and testing drills, but first they met with members of the media Sunday afternoon.
Among the safeties who held podium sessions Sunday afternoon was Delaware standout Nasir Adderley, who has football in his blood.
Nasir is related to Packers Hall of Famer Herb Adderley, who entered the league in 1961, which was also the Vikings inaugural season. Over 12 seasons in the NFL (nine with Green Bay and the final three with Dallas), Adderley played 165 games and snagged 48 interceptions.
“It’s been great. I talk to him all the time,” Nasir said of Herb, now 79 years old. “I actually just texted him before I got out here [for media availability], and he’s just extremely excited for me and so supportive. It’s a blessing to have him in my corner.”
Nelson Adderley, Nasir’s grandfather – and Herb’s cousin – played at Ohio State and in the Canadian Football League and was the first one to introduce Nasir to the game of football.
“It runs in my family,” Nasir told reporters in Indianapolis. “Just seeing what they’ve done and them seeing the potential in me, it motivates me to go harder.”
When asked about his biggest strength, Nasir highlighted his work ethic and relentless mentality.
“I’m the guy that’s always putting in extra work off the field. I’m the guy that’s putting on extra weight in the weight room,” Nasir said. “On the field, you won’t ever have to question my effort. Whether I’m on special teams, corner, safety, you won’t ever have to question my effort.”
Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranked Nasir as top safety in this year’s class of draft-eligible athletes; NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks tabbed Nasir third on his list behind Johnathan Abram and Deionte Thompson.
Here are some highlights from media sessions with safety prospects:
Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
Pre-combine draft rankings: Brooks 1, Brugler 4
NOTE: Abram recently was interviewed by NFL Total Access’s Lindsay Rhodes. The below quotes are taken from that segment.
On what players he watches on tape: “I pretty much watch everybody. I watch guys like Jamal Adams because he likes to hit people; him, Earl Thomas. But I do watch guys like Ronnie Lott, Antoine Bethea, Bob Sanders. A lot of people forget about Bob.”
On what he wants to be known for aside from hard-hitting: “I’m known for my smarts, you know, the process. How to process plays and how to process games. I watch a lot of film. But the other thing I feel like is underrated is my covering. You know, if you look at the cover rating, I had the lowest in the SEC … 40.8 percent passing. That’s one thing I think is overlooked – my coverage skills.
Deionte Thompson, Alabama
Pre-combine draft rankings: Brooks 2, Brugler 2
On safeties he looked up to as a young player: “My favorite safety is Earl Thomas. We went to the same high school. I watched Earl play in high school, in college and the NFL. I like Harrison Smith as well, a guy that I really model my game after. Eddie Jackson, a former Alabama player, who I model my game after. There’s a lot of safeties in the league, but those three.”
On upholding legacy of Alabama DBs in the NFL: “Yes, sir, that’s the goal. I went to Alabama because it was a great tradition of defensive backs who played there, a great tradition of defensive backs who are in the league now and a great coach. I played for the greatest coach in college football. … just being able to be in that room with him every day, practice with him every day, get critiqued by him every day, it made me the player that I am today.”
Taylor Rapp, Washington
Pre-combine draft rankings: Brooks 4, Brugler 3
On his biggest on-field strengths: “I think I can do everything on the back end. I think my biggest asset is my versatility. I can do everything. I can cover a deep third, I can cover a deep half, I can roll down in the box, I can run the alley and tackle, I can blitz, I can cover receivers, I can cover the slot, I can cover a tight end. I think I’m the complete package.”
On being compared to Minkah Fitzpatrick: “Minkah, he’s a baller. I’ve watched him [the past couple] years, and [Washington Defensive Coordinator/DBs Coach Jimmy Lake] and I have studied Alabama’s defense, as well. I think his game is a lot [like] my game. I think he’s super versatile, and I think I’m super versatile, as well.”
Darnell Savage, Maryland
Pre-combine draft rankings: Not ranked by Brooks, Brugler 7
On overcoming his broken leg and excelling afterward: “It was rough, being at such a pivotal point in my life. That’s when recruiting really started picking up for me. To have something like that happen, it takes a toll on your mental side. I think it made me a better player, person, family member, friend. In the end though, I think I really matured after that happened. I really looked at the game a little differently. In any instance, it can be taken away from you. I thank God every day. I know it was a rough situation, but I thank God every day that it happened to me. I think it’s helped me improve.”