Nick Niemann, LB
School: University of Iowa | Conference: Big 10
College Experience: Redshirt Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6’3” / 234lbs
Projected Draft Status: 6th - UDFA
Player Comparison: De’Vondre Campbell
Nick Niemann has football in his blood. His father Jay has been a defensive coach in college football for decades and his brother, Ben, plays professionally in Kansas City. Niemann, an academic all-Big Ten honoree each of his years in college, redshirted in 2016 and played as a backup in 2017. Iowa switched to a 4-2-5 alignment in 2018, replacing a linebacker with a safety for most snaps. This reduced Niemann’s playing time and he struggled to start consistently. A break out bowl game against USC solidified his starting role going into his senior season. Niemann started all eight games in his final season, resulting in him leading the team in tackles. For his play, Niemann received all-Big Ten third team honors.
· Athletic and agile, especially for his size, with a high motor
· Uses athleticism well in both man and zone coverage
· Good tackler that gets a player down if he gets his hands on them
· Did not make many plays in the opponent’s backfield
· Could stand to be stronger when taking on blocks
· Older prospect (will be 24 before rookie season ends)
· Because of height, can play high and let blockers get under his pads
Let’s See His Work
I'm not done a game of Nick Niemann. Here are several very impressive clips. Psychical, lateral agility and range, eye discipline, good tackling. Coverage feel is very good. pic.twitter.com/1uah3Znq1D— Matt Alkire (@mattalkire) April 15, 2021
Nick Niemann is a LB prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.51 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 104 out of 2111 LB from 1987 to 2021.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 28, 2021
This is currently the highest #RAS for a LB in this class using official numbers.https://t.co/9bF8oHNAf4 pic.twitter.com/XUwn2LxyHc
How He Fits On The Team
Watching Niemann play, his athleticism and agility is evident. He not only moves easily, but quickly changes direction. He has a good understanding of the coverage concepts used at Iowa. He does a good job of sticking to his assignment in man coverage. In zone coverage, he does a good job of staying with his assignment and passing it off once the receiver clears his zone. He is not a big hitter, but he brings down ball carriers if he gets his hands on them. His biggest weaknesses is that he can be neutralized around the line of scrimmage. That doesn’t stop him from trying to fight off blockers to try and make plays.
Although Niemann is often ranked outside the draft, I would consider drafting him early day 3. If he’s tasked with playing WILL linebacker in Washington, he’ll have a shot at success. It would allow him to play to his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. Right now, there is a vacuum at the position with Khaleke Hudson slated to start. Niemann could come into camp and compete for the starting spot. At the very least, he could definitely provide depth at the position and play special teams. I’d be happy if Niemann were to find his way to Washington.