Clay Nurse, DE, Illinois

Scouting reports of the defensive ends in the 2011 Draft.
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Clay Nurse, DE, Illinois

Postby Pudge » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:24 pm

Illinois Senior
40: 4.98


A high motor play that has good first step and straight-line speed off the corner. Flashes ability to get around the corner. Able to work on the inside stunt to get pressure or make the quick, inside counter move off the edge to put pressure on the passer. Decent ability to maintain outside contain on the edge vs. run.


Undersized and gets pushed around when defending the run. Too easily redirected and has trouble getting leverage. His ability as a pass rusher is negated somewhat when he can't use his speed rush, and tends to rely on it. Doesn't have the ideal range or burst to close and finish plays.


Nurse is an undersized edge pass rusher that is a pure speed guy. He's a high motor guy and coupled with his speed he has a chance to impact at the next level. He's a guy that is going to have to get bigger and stronger and add a stronger repertoire of moves off the edge, but he can contribute in a rotation. He's a late bloomer that was born in Guyana (that's in S. America) and didn't start to play football until his junior year of high shcool. He did little his first 2 years at Illinois, before having a 4-sack performance ealry during his junior year. But the rest of the year he wasn't great, finishing with 31 tackles, 10.5 for loss, and 5.5 sacks. As a senior he emerged as a full-time starter, playing primarily the DE position in their hybrid 3-4 defense. He finished year with 23 tackles, 4 for loss, and 4 sacks. He also blocked 2 kicks.


Nurse has some ability to play OLB in a 3-4, playing that position a bit in Illinois defense. But he's really better off bulking up and becoming a DE in a 4-3. He just doesn't have the range and burst that I'd want to see in an OLB prospect. Instead, he's better off getting stronger and better against the run and a team trying to develop him as a situational pass rusher. I think Nurse has a chance to stick as a third or fourth guy in an NFL rotation. He'll never be a sack artist, but with improved technique and added strength, he's a guy that can give a team 2 or 3 sacks off the bench. The keys with his longevity is whether or not he can get better against the run and become a lot less one-dimensional. He's a guy that I think is going to take the better part of two or three years before he can really be expected to make any impact. So he might have to stick on a practice squad early on, but if he can keep at it, he can add depth and contribute as a role player.


Nurse can compete in Atlanta. His high motor will help him, but he's not a guy that is going to stick right away. He'll have to spend a year or two on the practice squad, trying to get bigger and stronger and improve his technique. But two or so years down the road, you could see a scenario where he is in a position to land the last spot in the rotation. He'll never be a big factor on defense, but a guy like Davis that can contribute because of his motor and provide some pressure off the edge.


Nurse probably isn't worth drafting. A team looking for developmental backup defensive end might look at him late in the seventh, but he's better value as an undrafted free agent because of his longer development time.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Strength: 2.0
Quickness: 3.0
Pass Rush: 2.5
Point Of Attack: 2.0
Recognition: 2.5
Motor: 3.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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