Delaware's Adderley impresses at Senior Bowl

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - The consensus among NFL Draft analysts is Delaware free safety Nasir Adderley will be the first FCS player selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.

His week at the 70th annual Reese's Senior Bowl helped strengthen his growing status.

Adderley impressed enough during the practices that he was named a game captain for the North team, which beat the South 34-24 Saturday at Ladd-Peoples Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

The Buffalo players saw too much of Adderley in college football's premier all-star game. He was in on five tackles, including a plastering of wide receiver Anthony Johnson, and intercepted quarterback Tyree Jackson in the fourth quarter.

"It's a tremendous opportunity, especially coming from where I come from," Adderley said. "I try to block out all the outside noise, just focus on what the coaches are telling me to do, and just try to get better each day."

The FCS level is historically strong with producing defensive backs. A chisled 6 feet, 195 pounds, Adderley played both cornerback and safety at Delaware, flashing elite range and physicality. He was the only player in the subdivision with over 160 tackles and nine interceptions over the past two seasons.

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah gives the first-team STATS FCS All-American a first-round grade. He wrote in his scouting report: "Adderley is a slightly undersized safety prospect with outstanding instincts, range and ball skills. He is a former cornerback and his movement skills reflect that background. He is very fluid in his backpedal and his combination of recognition and burst allow him to cover a lot of ground. He has no issues locating the ball in the air and possesses strong, dependable hands.

"Against the run, he is aggressive to the alley and boasts a high batting average as a tackler. He also offers value in the return game, where he displays vision, speed and toughness. Overall, Adderley is an ideal, pure free safety and should be a quality starter immediately in his rookie campaign."

Western Illinois defensive tackle Khalen Saunders of the North was one of the week's more visible players - not just FCS - because his fiancée, Ayanna, gave birth to their daughter, Kambridge, while Saunders was in Mobile. He flew home to Chicago on Thursday for a quick visit and arrived back in Mobile Saturday morning.

The 6-foot, 320-pounder stood out to scouts with a blend of power and surprising agility on the defensive interior, showcased by a straight-on 9-yard sack of West Virginia quarterback Will Grier in the first quarter. "He's been awesome," Jeremiah said.

Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard (6-5, 322) of the South enjoyed a coming-out party as a fast-rising prospect and two-time first-team All-America wide receiver Keelan Doss (6-2, 207) of the North sizzled as well, catching four passes for 55 yards.

Other FCS players were: North, South Dakota State cornerback Jordan Brown (four tackles), Stetson tight end Donald Parham and Northern Colorado wide receiver Alex Wesley; and South, Jacksonville State offensive guard B.J. Autry, Elon offensive tackle Oli Udoh and James Madison cornerback Jimmy Moreland (three tackles). North Dakota State running back Bruce Anderson did not play because of a quadriceps injury.

The NFL Draft will be held from April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Updated January 26, 2019

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