Biography: Two-year starter and an all-academic performer since his freshman season. Totals last year included 73 tackles/4 tackles for loss/1 sack after he had 42 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss as a junior.
Positives: Athletic linebacker with terrific size/speed numbers. Instinctive, effectively reads or diagnoses the action and explodes up the field to fill gaps in run defense. Tough run defender who holds his ground against blocks or defeats them altogether to get to the ballcarrier. Aggressive, fights to get up the field and wraps up tackling.
Negatives: Just average production in college. Marginal ball skills in coverage. Neither quick nor fluid pedaling in reverse. Struggles locating the ball in the air and tends to do a lot of face guarding.
Analysis: Nielsen passes the eyeball test and is a smart student who carries his intelligence over onto the football field. Thus far he's displayed himself as a one-dimensional run defender and must improve his skills in pass coverage to have a career in the NFL.
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