2017 NFL DRAFT

Nick Kwiatkoski, OLB

School: West Virginia  |  Conference: BIG12
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Bethel Park, PA
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 243 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
151144-5

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.652.731.6219 3210'0"4.227.16

Player Overview

Kwiatkoski spent 2011 bulking up during his redshirt season before the former high school running back and safety made the transition to strongside linebacker in 2012, playing in 12 games and starting against Kansas. He was moved inside a year later and found a home, leading the Mountaineers in tackles each of the past three seasons.

Though he still lacks ideal size, Kwiatkoski's 275 tackles during that time speak for itself. He's instinctive, physical and has maintained his athleticism despite adding nearly 40 pounds to his frame.

Athletic and alert in coverage, Kwiatkoski was well suited to star in the pass-happy Big 12, where he earned First Team all-conference honors in 2015 with an all-around game which included 86 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, seven pass breakups, three interceptions and both a forced and recovered fumble. While he currently lacks the bulk scouts would prefer, the agility and competitiveness is there for Kwiatkoski to buck the odds and continue his success in the NFL.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Possesses an athletic body type with room for at least another 10 pounds. Instinctive defender who locates the football quickly, showing burst and agility to evade would-be blockers.

Reliable open-field tackler, wrapping his long arms around ball-carriers for the secure stop. Flashes some explosiveness as a hitter, generating impressive closing speed and power to deliver a thud. Experience at safety is clear in his pass drops, where he shows balance and fluidity while changing directions, as well as route recognition. Intercepted six passes over his career at West Virginia and picked off another during a solid showing during Senior Bowl practices.

Selfless defender willing to take out the legs of oncoming blockers or fight to keep contain and force ball-carriers inside (where more defenders are waiting) rather than attempt to make the tackle himself and leave his teammates vulnerable. Plays with the kamikaze style to project well to special teams.

WEAKNESSES: Even after adding significant weight over his collegiate career, still lacks the bulk preferred, struggling to anchor when blockers reach him. Relies upon slipping past blocks rather than taking them on and consistently shedding them efficiently enough to make the tackle near the point of contact.

Starred in a pass-happy Big 12 conference and may struggle with the closer quarters and physicality of the NFL.

IN OUR VIEW: A former safety who has built himself into an All-Big 12 linebacker, Kwiatkoski has made a career out of exceeding expectations. With his relatively slim frame, Kwiatkoski doesn't necessarily look the part of a classic inside linebacker but he's instinctive, athletic and physical. At the very least, he could emerge as a quality special teamer and with greater strength at the point of attack, could surprise as much more.

--Rob Rang (@robrang) (2/13/16)

 
 
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Player News
12/14/2015 - 2015 ALL-BIG 12 FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM (COACHES): LB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia, Sr.,...Senior linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski earned All-Big 12 First Team distinction. Kwiatkoski ranks first on WVU and No. 16 in the Big 12 with 80 tackles, while also adding 10 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, three sacks and three interceptions. - West Virginia Football
 

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