Draft 2023 – Pick #5: Nick Hampton, Edge, Appalachian State

Player Bio
Hampton was an all-region pick at Westside High School in South Carolina before redshirting with the Mountaineers in 2018 (two tackles in three games played as a reserve). He played in all 14 games in 2019, racking up 6.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 24 tackles, two forced fumbles in one start. Hampton started six on 10 games played in 2020 (42 tackles, 6.5 for loss with three sacks) before bursting onto the national scene as a junior in 2021, garnering third-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors (69 tackles, 17.5 for loss with 11 sacks, two pass breakups in 14 starts). He led the team with 9.5 tackles for loss and registered seven sacks, 39 tackles and three forced fumbles in nine starts in 2022. He earned first-team all-league notice despite missing three games due to injury. — by Chad Reuter

By Lance Zierlein NFL Analyst
Draft Projection Round 4
NFL Comparison Marquis Haynes

Undersized 3-4 outside linebacker who might require a game plan from his drafting team due to the strengths and weaknesses of his frame and his game. Hampton isn’t anything special as a run defender, but his pass-rush tape really stands out. He’s an explosive, linear pass rusher featuring subtle techniques near the top of the rush that help him access the pocket. Hampton will be a strong tester but finding a clean positional fit could be a challenge. At worst, he could find snaps as a full-time special-teamer and backup linebacker with pass-rush talent.

  • Has a history of making high-motor, high-impact plays.
  • Rare wingspan allows him to stick and separate from blocks.
  • Explosive lower body with above-average strength for his size.
  • Expansive tackle net in space.
  • Possesses an assortment of attacks at the top of the rush.
  • Sudden, crisp two-hand swipes help clear tackle’s initial punch.
  • Can lean and rip or use ghost technique to grease the edge.
  • Keeps feet moving through contact to turn the corner on protection.
  • Frame might be maxed out.
  • Below average physical traits to set strong edges.
  • Needs to play with a greater deal of grit and resistance versus run blockers.
  • Pursuit burst from change of direction takes time.
  • Slows feet and grabs rather than running through tackle tries.
  • Will need to develop inside rush counters.

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