Among the 100 college prospects gathered in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl, there were a few players that many scouts had circled on their rosters prior to the start of practice Tuesday; one of them being defensive back Nasir Adderley from the University of Delaware. He is just one of several talented players on the Raiders' North roster, and entering Senior Bowl week, NFL analysts were eager to see how he'd perform.
After two days, it seems as though Adderley is performing above and beyond expectations, and a couple of Raiders coaches are pleased with the results. Whether it's been giving 100 percent in drills, executing during 11-on-11 scrimmage, or just understanding Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther's scheme, the 21-year-old from Philadelphia has shown that he's versatile, and highly intelligent.
"Very explosive, very instinctive," Defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley said following practice Tuesday. "Really good ball skills in the deep part of the field. He's a ball player, very instinctive, catches on quickly, plays at a high level with a high engine. Really like him, got a big time future."
"Good guy – from Delaware. Can play safety, nickel, maybe some corner out there. He's got really good feet," Guenther added. "He's smart. He attacks the ball really good, so he's done a really good job for us."
Playing all four years at the University of Delaware, Adderley totaled 226 tackles, 31 passes defensed, half-a-sack, and 10 interceptions. Listed as a defensive back, the Philly native is a jack of all trades, mixing in time at nickel, outside corner, and safety. His versatility is attractive, and this week during practice Coach Ansley has taken notice.
"It's a credit to him that he's coming in here and attacking this the right way," Ansley said. "He's learning the defense, learning the intricacies of all those positions, and it just shows that he can learn them and go out there and be a field general."
It's hard to transition from playing with teammates you've had for four years, to learning a new system — albeit condensed — and communicating with other athletes you've never met before, but that hasn't stopped Adderley from thriving.
"It's been incredible, I'm around a great group of DBs, and coached by some of the best out there," he said Wednesday. "I mean, they've been really helpful to my technique already within a span of two days. It's just been great. I've been moved around a lot, playing some nickel, been playing the post, some outside corner, so it's been fun. It's been a little bit of an adjustment coming in, but I feel like today I've made a lot of improvement."
It was a wild day in Mobile, the conditions were unbearable, and instead of practicing at Ladd Peebles Stadium — where practice was originally scheduled all week — it was moved to the University of South Alabama's indoor facility. What could be viewed as another obstacle to make things uncomfortable, Adderley, and several other players on defense enjoyed impressive outings against highly touted quarterbacks Drew Lock and Daniel Jones.
There were three interceptions on the afternoon, including one from Adderley, which Guenther described as an instinctive play.
"He made a good break, was in a good position," Guenther told reporters Wednesday. "He's in the right leverage. Caught the ball and turned it up. He's had a really good first couple of days."
Following Tuesday's practice, coaches wanted to see if players could string a few good days of work together, and show their consistency, which is exactly what Adderley has done thus far. He might not be from the biggest school, but he's ready to bring the Philly mentality to Alabama.
"I had a chip on my shoulder ever since I started playing football," he shared. "I used to be the smallest kid on the field, and I wanted to prove I belonged. I mean really all my life I've just been trying to be the best me that I can be. I know when I do that, and I focus on all the little things, paying attention to detail, or listening to the outside noise or anything around me, and focus on just doing my job things turn out pretty well."