The 2019 NFL draft features some big-name defensive prospects from powerhouse programs who will litter the first round, but there’s a small school safety prospect that’s likely to creep into that conversation.
Delaware’s Nasir Adderley is a rangy prospect that’s likely to impressive general managers and scouts alike at next month’s Senior Bowl. With a rare combination of size and athleticism, Adderley should turn plenty of heads at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine as well.
Adderley recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his favorite part about playing free safety, his abilities as a return man and what he hopes to accomplish in Mobile.
JM: Congratulations on the Senior Bowl invite.
NA: Oh man, thank you so much. I was really hoping I would get that invite. It’s a dream come true.
JM: What were you doing when you got the news, and what was your initial reaction like?
NA: The way I found out was incredible. I was out on the field with my mom, my grandmother and my sister on Senior Day. We took a picture with my head coach and he told my mom that we needed to stop by his office after because he had something for me. I had no idea what it was. We lost that game unfortunately. My mom gathered around the entire family and told them I had been invited to the Senior Bowl. It was incredible. The feeling was so crazy.
Safety @NasirAdderley from @DelawareFB has officially accepted his invitation to the 70th Reese’s Senior Bowl! #SeniorBowl #CompeteAndConnect #NFLTraditionInMobile pic.twitter.com/SJFwTFWB1l— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) November 21, 2018
JM: What’s the lasting impression you hope to leave on the scouts and general managers in attendance in Mobile?
NA: I want them to see that I’m a competitor and a play maker. I’m gonna work hard regardless of who’s in front of me. I’m always trying to find a way to win.
JM: What’s your favorite part about playing the free safety position?
NA: I just love everything about it. It allows me to be physical in the run game. I can patrol the middle of the field. I just love having all that green in front of me. It allows me to really see the game and dissect whatever the quarterback is doing. You see everything from the free safety position. I recognize the formations. That’s how I play and how I learn. I’m a visual learner. When I see a formation, and my teammate needs help, I can see it due to my instincts. Seeing the whole picture from back there is amazing at safety as opposed to cornerback or any other position on the field. You’re the last line of defense. I played cornerback my freshmen and sophomore year but I made the transition to free safety. That’s where I’m projected to play at the next level. I just love playing safety, man.
Congrats to @NasirAdderley, who earned AP All-American accolades today.#BleedBlue302#BlueHens pic.twitter.com/rbNCwe3IVJ— Delaware Football (@DelawareFB) December 11, 2018
JM: Did having that background as a cornerback help you make the transition to free safety? Does it give you any sort of advantage?
NA: It definitely helped. Playing corner, you have to have good feet. I feel like a lot of safeties don’t have that component to their game. I feel like that’s a big help for me. I have great feet because I played corner for so long.
JM: How did Delaware prepare you for the next level?
NA: We have a great, committed coaching staff. They have a ton of experience. I feel like I had the best of both worlds at Delaware. My first two years as a cornerback, my position coach Henry Baker who coaches at North Carolina now, he was just a pure technician. I learned so much from him from the technique aspect of the game. We had a change in the coaching staff in the middle of my sophomore year. The defensive coordinator was also the the defensive backs coach. I’m talking about Chris Cosh. He understands the mental side of the game so well. It’s been incredible to learn about formations from him. He’s helped me be able to identify what the offense wants to do when they’re in a certain look. I now have a better understanding of the defense as a whole. I understand what the defensive line is doing. I understand the responsibilities of the linebackers. It just helped me grow my game so much.
Boy does Nasir Adderley have some RANGE. Very good read-and-reaction. pic.twitter.com/TTGF78Tes8— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) December 9, 2018
JM: Who would you say is the best player you’ve ever played against?
NA: I was really impressed with Kyle Lauletta. He played at the University of Richmond. He’s with the New York Giants now. He made some incredible throws against us. I was really impressed every time I watched him. He didn’t really make any mistakes. He diagnosed our defense with success. He had a good understanding of what we were trying to do. You have to try and disguise what you’re doing against him. If he knows what’s coming, he’s gonna expose you.
JM: Is there an NFL quarterback you’re looking forward to picking off one day?
NA: Every single one of them (laughs). Whoever is on that field, I’m trying to get an interception. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is.
JM: You don’t just play free safety. You’ve been a dynamic return guy as well. What’s going through your mind when that ball’s in the air?
NA: That’s just something that I’ve always done, ever since pop warner and high school. I love it. It’s so much fun to have the ball in my hands. I’m trying to make something happen for my team.
JM: What are some of your hobbies outside of football?
NA: I’m really passionate about football. I devote a whole bunch of my time to football. I’m just trying to get better on a daily basis. I like to read in my free time. I read self improvement books. I’m always looking to improve myself as a man in general, not just on the field. I read things about being a better person. I like spending quality time with my family.
JM: What’s your favorite self improvement book?
NA: Probably The Motivational Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. I listen to Eric Thomas a lot. He’s a motivational speaker. I just love his story. He’s so passionate about what he does. I truly believe in some of the morals he instills. The Motivational Manifesto was a book that he recommended in one of his spoken words.
JM: That’s incredible. I’ve really appreciated your time tonight, Nasir. You’ve made for a great conversation and teams are going to love you when they get a chance to sit down and really talk to you. What can fans expect from Nasir Adderley going forward?
NA: They can expect me to be the competitor and play maker that I’ve always been. Wherever they put me, I’m gonna make plays. I’m a versatile defender so it doesn’t matter where I play, I’m just gonna go out there and make plays.