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Top-rated DT Nix leaving Irish for NFL Draft

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Notre Dame junior nose tackle Louis Nix has hired an agent, thus foregoing his final year of college eligibility to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. He signed with 5 Star Athlete Management, according to the Sports Business Journal.

According to ratings, the 6-foot-2, 345-pound Nix is the top defensive tackle prospect eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft and is projected to be a top 15 pick. He played in eight games in 2013, but his season officially ended after November surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

In my most recent mock draft, Nix is projected to the New York Giants with the No. 14 overall pick.

Nix is an attractive NFL prospect due to his nimble athleticism for his size and girth. He has an excellent blend of quickness and power and spends a lot of time in the opposing offense's backfield. Nix has the hand strength and initial get-off momentum to bully blockers on their heels, showing leverage and active limbs. He keeps his eyes on the ball and shows the awareness to anticipate and track plays.

In addition to the obvious injury concerns as he rehabs his knee surgery, Nix also needs to develop his counter moves after he's initially stonewalled at the point of attack and hasn't had many answers for the consistent double-teams he saw in South Bend. Nix is a high character kid, but he needs to control his emotions on the field and play consistently focused and level-headed for all four quarters.

Nix carries his weight naturally for a 340-plus pounder, shifting his weight well with the agile footwork to quickly change directions. Add the hustle, competitive drive and love of football and Nix presents an enticing prospect for NFL evaluators and he will receive attention by teams drafting in the top 10. The knee injury does create some concern, but few prospects have his combination of fluid athleticism, natural power and sheer size.

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