2020 NFL Draft Player Preview: Nick Coe
By Charlie Campbell
2019 Season Outlook: Coe will see some good offensive lines during his 2019 season. Oregon has multiple NFL prospects on its blocking front, which will challenge Coe to open the season. Later on, Texas A&M, Florida and LSU could field tackle talent to challenge Coe.
The best tackle who Coe will see all season is Georgia's Andrew Thomas in mid-November. Thomas could be a franchise left tackle prospect for the NFL with high first-round potential, so if Coe plays well against Thomas, that would be huge for Coe's draft stock. At the end of the season, Coe will take on rival Alabama and see left tackle Alex Leatherwood, a pro prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Skill-Set Summary: Auburn has one of the most talented defensive lines in college football, posessing at least three future draft picks. While Derrick Brown is the most gifted player on that line, Coe isn't too far off, having an excellent skill set with size, quickness, and strength. Coe has a ton of upside, and if he plays up to his potential, he could be a top prospect in his draft class.
Coe is a tough defender at the point of attack with sufficient size and strength to set the edge. In the ground game, he can hold his ground and stand up power blocks to maintain his gap integrity. Coe shows the ability to close quickly when he gets free of blocks, plus gives tight ends lots of problems with his power. To improve his run defense for the NFL, Coe needs to get better with his hand technique to shed blocks.
Improving his hands is also an important improvement point for Coe as a pass-rusher. He has to get better at using his hands and feet at the same time to shed blocks while working up field. Coe moves very well for a big-bodied end and shows impressive athleticism to dip his hips and shoulders to get turned to the quarterback. There are times when Coe gets through tackles by dipping his shoulder into them and rolling them back into the pocket. He utilizes speed to power, displaying his quick burst while working upfield before using his strong build to overpower blockers. When Coe gets free, he is quick to close and does a nice job of working back toward the line of scrimmage and using his speed to chase scrambling quarterbacks. Coe has very impressive agility without the stiffness issues that typically plague defensive ends of his size.
Coe has a good skill set, but his technique needs a lot of work in the pass rush. He needs to develop a repertoire of moves and must get better at using his hands. That can even be seen in the sacks that Coe registered as a sophomore, as they were not all that impressive plays. Team sources say that Coe has to show the ability to get off blocks and rush the passer in order to grade out as a first-rounder. Right now, they feel he has poor fundamentals and technique based on his 2018 performance.
Coe projects to being able to consistently slide inside to defensive tackle in the sub package and rush the quarterback. Team sources say Coe looks more natural playing on the inside than on the edge. If he continues to add weight, he will grow into a full-time defensive tackle. Coe needs to stay on top of his conditioning, as he can play high when he gets tired, and he gets in trouble as a run defender and pass rusher when he loses leverage.
For the NFL, Coe's best fit could come as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. In a 4-3, he could be a power left end who also moves inside at times.
2020 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2019 season, Coe has early-round potential. He could rise high in the 2020 NFL Draft if he plays up to his potential. Some team sources wouldn't take him in the first round based on his 2018 film. They feel he has to show more as a junior to be a first-round pick, but he has the skill set and natural talent to be a Thursday night pick if he puts it all together.
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