It’s no secret that the Las Vegas Raiders could use an offensive tackle and will likely be looking for one in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Raiders have a starting spot that’s up for grabs at right tackle and Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere has experience holding down the edge on either side of the center.
OT | Ohio State | 6’5 1/8” and 316 lbs | Tampa, FL | September 15th, 1999 (22.6)
Nicholas Petit-Frere came to Ohio State as a five-star recruit and the top offensive tackle in the country for the 2018 class, per 247 Sports. He played in three games but redshirted year one on campus and then was a swing tackle in 2019 before locking down the starting right tackle spot in 2020 and switching sides last season. During his college career, he allowed 36 pressures and three sacks while earning PFF run-blocking grades of 72.7 and 84.3 in his final two years.
- Good initial quickness and spacing on his 45-degree sets in pass protection to avoid oversetting and maintains his base well while moving laterally
- When using a jump set, he’s aggressive and gets on defensive linemen quickly with the strength to lock up defensive ends
- Pretty quick to sniff out E/T stunts or when the defensive lineman he’s lined up across from goes first in the line game
- Solid timing with his punch, he typically makes contact about the same time or slightly after the pass rusher
- Uses a mix of one and two-arm punches to keep rushers off balance
- His upper body strength allows him to control defensive ends and lock them out when he does land his hands on their chest. Also can execute a snatch and trap technique against defensive ends.
- Impressive anchor in pass protection, his wide base helps him dig his heels in the ground and he has the strength to get some lift on edge rushers to alter their momentum
- Get off, footwork and angles allow him to seal 3-techs on backside cutoff blocks, he’s very quick off the ball and uses a bucket step to lose ground to gain ground.
- In general when run blocking, he blocks with a wide base to help generate some movement
- On zone runs, he does a good job using a read step to see where the defensive lineman is going and has the base and strength to absorb contact from edges
- If he can’t seal on cutoffs, he has the strength to ride defenders’ momentum and wash defensive ends down
- Quick to pick up crashing linebackers off combo blocks
- On arc releases, he does a good job selling the first level block to get the defensive lineman to crash hard and takes an efficient angle to the second level to seal linebackers
- Breaks down at the point of attack to help get a piece of linebackers if he overruns them
Areas of Improvement:
- Two of his worst performances last season came against the best competition he faced, Michigan against Aiden Hutchinson and David Ojabo, and Penn State and Arnold Ebikete. Those matchups accounted for 14 of the 26 pressures he allowed all season.
- Inefficient footwork on his pass sets, lots of short, choppy steps that don’t cover much ground which gets worse on vertical sets
- He’s quick to turn his hips and open the gate in pass protection, it doesn’t look like he trusts his footspeed against speed rushers and just looks to try and run them by instead of matching their speed
- Leans and stops his feet when punching, he’ll lose the edge because of this
- Against better competition, he’s more tentative with his punch and telegraphs it, making it easier to swipe his hands away
- A little late to recognize T/E stunts and blitzing linebackers who get involved in the line game
- Toes a line of getting too involved when passing off the edge rusher against line games and could miss quick loopers at the next level
- Slow reactive athleticism and sub-par change of direction skills to combat inside counters. Quick pass rushers can beat him with inside stick moves if they sell the outside/speed rush well, especially since he’s quick to open his hips
- On zone runs, he has random mental lapses where his first step is in the wrong direction
- He has stiff knees which leads to high pad level, and he stops his feet on contact, limiting his push on base blocks
- Defensive tackles who play with good leverage will be able to get under his pads and knock him backward when he uses that read step on zone runs
- At the point of attack, he has wide hands and likes to lean on defenders, causing his nose to be over his toes and making it easier for defensive ends who are good with their hands to shed his blocks
- As the second blocker on a scoop block, he loses at the POA which makes it difficult to take over the block and leads to his head being on the wrong side and getting beat inside by defensive tackles
- Struggles to adjust his path when the defensive line slants and will get beat to the inside, leading to unblocked tackles for loss
- When working up to the second level, he needs to dip his shoulder to avoid contact at the first level
- Lacks the agility and core strength to stay engaged with linebackers when they work laterally to get off his block
NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 63rd overall, 2nd round
Once considered a fringe first-rounder, Petit-Frere’s stock has taken a dip recently. He was 36th on NMDD’s board at the beginning of February and dropped as low as 74th after the combine. For me, the second round is far too rich and the former Buckeye should fall more into the Day 3 category. I have concerns about how he’ll hold up against speed rushers and his major struggles against top competition are red flags for me.
Schematically, I’m almost more intrigued by Petit-Frere’s future as a guard than I am about his prospects as a tackle. I think he has the strength and anchor to hold up on the inside in pass protection, it would just be a matter of if he can handle the physicality of playing on the inside in the run game. A zone-heavy scheme with lots of play-action in the passing attack would be best for his growth at the next level.
What do we need to know?
Who is the real Nicholas Petit-Frere? As mentioned a few times above, the Tampa, FL native was almost a completely different player and had his worst performances of the season against Penn State and Michigan last year. While sure, that can be chalked up to just a couple of poor outings, it doesn’t help matters that those outings came against NFL-level competition, so the question remains of how he’ll hold up week in and week out as a pro.
Fit with the Raiders:
Do the Raiders need a right tackle and would having someone with position versatility be beneficial? Yes, but adding another tackle who has concerns in pass protection would be a misuse of a pick, in my opinion. Las Vegas already has Alex Leatherwood and Brandon Parker who fit that bill, so I’d opt for someone who’s a more refined pass protector and pass on Petit-Frere if I’m Dave Ziegler.
Beautiful get-off and footwork by Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT) to scoop this 3-tech, barely needed the OG’s help pic.twitter.com/rvgAsgk7nm— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) April 8, 2022
Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT) does a great job selling the 1st level block block to get the DE to crash inside on his arc release, then beats the LB to the spot & takes the LB for a walk pic.twitter.com/twPMYlfC3l— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) April 8, 2022
Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT) with an excellent snatch and trap technique pic.twitter.com/1oXxrxC3se— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) April 8, 2022
Another beautiful backside cutoff by Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT) his get off can be lethal pic.twitter.com/9SFIzRyr1a— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) April 8, 2022
Excellent reach block by Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT):— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) April 8, 2022
-Loses ground to gain ground w/ bucket step
-Gets his hands involved early to help control the DE
-Flips his hips around and seals the edge pic.twitter.com/N8Fl1uXtMa