Summary: Every year in college football there are players who come out of nowhere to have huge seasons and vault their respective draft stocks from being unknowns entering the season to early round picks in the NFL Draft. This year, Nassib is that player. A year ago, nobody knew who he was outside of Happy Valley. Nassib had a total of 19 tackles as a junior and sophomore. His name could be familiar to some because his older brother Ryan was a quarterback at Syracuse and was drafted by the New York Giants in 2013. Carl Nassib worked hard for years to add 50-60 pounds before winning a starting job as a senior.
Immediately at the start of the 2015 season, Nassib put a ton of heat on the quarterback. He had four sacks in the first two games, which set the tone for the season. Nassib notched sacks in 11 straight games before a shoulder injury derailed him the final three weeks. In 2015, he led college football in sacks with 15.5. Nassib also had also had 46 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles.
At the Senior Bowl, Nassib had a quality week and had his share of wins over the all-star tackles. He got the better of them with some speed around the corner and power to rush through them.
From a skill-set perspective, Nassib doesn't blow you away. He isn't overly fast or physical. He displays some pass-rushing moves, but they will need continued improvement for the NFL. Adding a club and rip move would make sense to go with his speed, spin move, and bull rush. Nassib really doesn't have the speed to beat left tackles, but he would be a good rusher to go against right tackles.
Playing at left end would make sense for Nassib in the ground game as well. He is generally tough at the point of attack and steady to hold his gap. The senior stopped some runs, but could stand to continue to improve in this phase as well. With Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel plugging the inside, Penn State was a tough team to run on in 2015. Nassib has good size and strength to take on NFL right tackles.
Additionally, teams love Nassib off the field. Both of his college head coaches Bill O'Brien and James Franklin have raved about him as an example to the rest of the team with his work ethic. Nassib has good football character and his older brother talks with him about the transition to the NFL. The off-the-field intangibles could help Nassib to go higher than expected during the 2016 NFL Draft.
Nassib looks secure as a second-round pick. He isn't a true speed demon off the edge and isn't overly strong. Nassib also is a 1-year wonder at the college level, so some teams could hold that against him. It isn't out of the question for Nassib to be a late first-rounder as this draft doesn't have 31 true first-round talents, but it is strong on the defensive line, so Nassib looks likely to go in Round 2.
Player Comparison: Aaron Kampman. Nassib reminds me of a bigger, slower version of Kampman. Kampman had some good seasons with the Packers and totaled 58 sacks in his career. Like Nassib, Kampman wasn't the fastest or strongest edge rusher, but he had a nose for the quarterback and gave relentless effort. Kampman maxed out as a player, and I could see Nassib being a similar caliber edge rusher in his pro career.
NFL Matches: Jacksonville, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami
The Jaguars could use an edge rusher to go with Dante Fowler as their pass defense has been a real weakness. The Cowboys could/should move on from Greg Hardy and Nassib would bring them size to go with Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence. The Lions, for their part, could use an edge rusher to pair with Ziggy Ansah. Baltimore needs a young pass-rusher as Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are aging. However, Nassib isn't a good fit in the 3-4.
The Falcons badly need an edge rusher to go with Vic Beasley. Atlanta had the least amount of sacks of any team in the NFL last season, so getting college football's leading sacker would be a really nice value for them in the second round. Ditto for Tampa Bay. The Bucs are in dire need of some edge-rushing talent. Tampa Bay could target Nassib in the second round after upgrading their secondary in Round 1. The Bucs could use multiple ends, so doubling up on defensive ends with their first two picks is possible.
Oakland tried Aldon Smith, but can't count on him to stay on the field. The Raiders need a rusher to go with Khalil Mack. Meanwhile, Miami has Cameron Wake aging and coming off a serious injury as well as Olivier Vernon entering free agency. If the the Dolphins upgrade their secondary in the first round, Nassib would be a great fit in Round 2.
The same goes for the Giants as they need to get more pass rush out of their defensive ends. Nassib would fit well in New York.