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Prospect Profiles: Nate Irving


Triangle Numbers: 6-1, 240, 4.8

Scouting Reports:

Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Good sideline-to-sideline defender, scrapes well and has the speed to get across field with ease… Pretty good with play recognition, reads the natural flow of the play and finds ways to get to the ball… An extremely intense player, plays with a chip on his shoulder and sets the tone for the NC State defense… Decent speed for his size… All-around producer (214 tackles, nine sacks, six forced fumbles and four interceptions in three years), set NCAA record with eight TFL vs. Wake Forest this season… Shoots gaps with speed and control, keeps eyes in the backfield and diagnoses plays on the move… Very good agility, can change directions almost at full speed, which makes him deadly defending underneath routes… Above-average zone defender and serviceable in man-to-man coverage, an overall solid pass defender… Prototypical leader at the position, is a dedicated and hard-working player on and off the field.

Negatives: Plays a little high at times, which allows blockers access to his lower body, susceptible to cut blocks outside the box… Not the surest tackler, comes in too high at times and does not always drive feet at contact… Not an explosive hitter, can pop ball carriers if he takes the right angle, but is mostly a wrap-up tackler… Is not a pass rusher, needs to develop a larger arsenal of moves, generally relies on straight-line speed to get into the backfield… Major injury concerns, was sidelined in 2008 and was involved in a car accident in 2009 that left him with several injuries… Can get engulfed at the line of scrimmage if taking a bad angle to the ball carrier or if gap closes quickly.

National Football Post:

A physical, wrap-up tackler who possesses impressive lower body strength with the ability to drive his legs through contact. Exhibits a good first step but displays only average straight-line speed in pursuit. However, he reads and reacts quickly to the play and is consistently getting good jumps on the football. Does a great job playing with leverage when taking on linemen in the hole and holding his ground at the point of attack. Is consistently working his way toward the play, even through contact, and uses his hands well to stack shed when needed. Also, plays the piano well down the line and keeps himself clean when shuffling his way through traffic.

Showcases decent footwork in his drop but lacks range and is really stiff hipped when trying to get out of his breaks. At times is forced to turn his back to the play in order to get proper depth and isn’t a guy who will be able to athletically hold up in space. Also,lacks great awareness and has a tendency to lose track of receivers behind him. Needs to do a better job feeling routes develop around him. Missed the 2009 season due to injuries he suffered in a car accident prior to the start of the year and it will be interesting to see if he has regained his form from 2008.

Impression: A physical linebacker who knows how to win at the point of attack and consistently finds the football. Have the makings of making a roster and fighting for playing time as a two down backer down the line.

FF Toolbox:

Nate Irving has battled some major obstacles throughout his collegiate career, but when he has been on the field, the 6-1 linebacker has been an extremely productive player. As a redshirt freshman in 2007, Irving emerged as an impact player for North Carolina State. He was not on the field too often early in the year, but 27 of his 52 tackles during that season came during the last four games. By 2008 Irving was ready to step into a full-time starting role. He did just that and had a superb season. Unfortunately Irving missed some time with an ankle injury, but he still ranked third on the team with 84 tackles and led the Wolfpack with four interceptions. Despite missing the better part of four games, Irving was still an honorable mention All-ACC performer.

That led to some high expectations in 2009, but football was not important after Irving was involved in a serious car accident. In late June, the accident resulted in a compound fracture, a collapsed lung, a broken rib and a separated shoulder. Irving’s football future was in doubt, but by the winter he was back and getting ready for the 2010 season. And Irving is back and leading NC State this season. Through nine games he leads the team with 65 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and eight quarterback hurries.

Irving’s ability to come back from life threatening injuries is an inspiring story. He is obviously a very tough individual and hard worker and any NFL team would be happy to have him. At the next level he can make an impact on special teams and work his way into the regular rotation at inside or outside linebacker. That versatility makes him an intriguing option for some defensive schemes and he could be a good value in the middle rounds for the right team.


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GiantsGab Thoughts:

Nate Irving is a middle round linebacker prospect. Primarily a middle backer, I think he can play all three positions. He is physical, smart, instinctive. Good speed. He’s decent in coverage. He’s better attacking the ball, reading and reacting, which would make him a good fit for Perry Fewell’s scheme. He does have durability injuries, as he missed the 2009 season due to a serious car accident. He seemed to be less fluid since. That will drop him on draft boards. I’m not sure if Irving is a starter, but I think he be a valuable rotation player, capable of playing all spots on the line, and be active on special teams. Because of the injuries, he’ll slip to at least the 4th round, maybe the 5th. He would be a good value then.


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