Questions About Knee, Weight Follow Nix

Is the risk worth the run-stopping reward with potential first-round pick Louis Nix? The run-stuffing nose tackle from Notre Dame, who met with the Packers at the Scouting Combine, did more than "read into his press clippings" in 2013, a scout said.

Louis Nix dropped about 23 pounds to get down to his "sexy" 331 pounds for the Scouting Combine.

What did the big Notre Dame nose tackle cut out from his diet?

"I'd say Five Guys. I enjoy my Five Guys and Cajun fries," Nix said with a laugh at the Combine.

Bad news for the Packers: There's a Five Guys, with their delightfully greasy hamburgers, about a mile away from Lambeau Field.

Nix joked about his weight during his Scouting Combine media session.

"Yeah, man, my stomach doesn't stick out as much," he said. "That's kind of nice. I like that part. My thighs got a little smaller. I just feel sexier, man."

The weight, however, is no laughing matter to the scouts that will determine Nix's fate during the draft.

"I think his problem is he not only read into his press clippings before the season but he ate them," Dave-Te Thomas, the NFL's longtime head scout, said.

Notre Dame listed Nix at 357 pounds for his junior season, his final year in South Bend. A second scout said Nix's preseason weight was "much closer" to 400 pounds than even that dangerous figure.

A big man with a bad knee is a dangerous combination for a player with first-round talent. Nix missed five games in 2013 due to his left knee, including the final three after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He said it started bothering him during the national championship game against Alabama to cap the 2012 season. Nonetheless, Nix let his weight balloon, even though common sense says bigger isn't better with a bum knee.

"I can't diagnose myself and say that. I'm not a doctor," Nix said.

Asked how his knee felt during his media session on Saturday, Nix joked: "It's fantastic. How's your knee?"

The Packers had a formal interview with Nix at the Combine and he'd certainly be a consideration with the 21st pick in the draft if his knee gets the green light from the medical staff. Green Bay's run defense has been porous the past few seasons, and the team's top four run-defending defensive linemen — B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson are heading to free agency. Nix is considered a tremendous run-stopper.

"Some teams and general managers really like him," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who delivered the commentary on NBC's Notre Dame broadcasts. "He's a prototypical nose tackle, big kid. He's got good short-area quickness for a 330-pound guy but he had the knee last year. He flashed but didn't play at a high level all the time. He's got to be a little bit lighter. He's got to play at 330.

"So, the question is, can he push the edge a little bit? Can he gain an edge and push the pocket? If you believe in that, then he's probably a top-20 pick because he's a player 330-pound nose tackle with some movement skills. If you don't believe that you can get some pass rush out of him, he probably isn't a top-20 pick for your team."

Nix didn't show pass-rush ability at Notre Dame, though he did get in the backfield a fair amount. Nix started all three seasons. In 2011, he had a half-sack and 4.5 tackles for losses among his 45 tackles. In 2012, he improved to two sacks and 7.5 tackles for losses among his 50 tackles. In his eight games in 2013, he had no sacks and two tackles for losses among his 27 tackles.

"I think I can wiggle a little bit," Nix said when asked if he was more than a hold-the-point defender in the run game. "I have dance moves. That should prove a lot."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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