Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State OT | NFL Draft Scouting Report

After making the move to left tackle, can Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere elevate his NFL Draft scouting report into Round 1?

The 2022 NFL Draft’s offensive tackle class is largely underwhelming after Alabama tackle Evan Neal. However, one player whose NFL Draft scouting report is ascending is Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere. A talented player with a high-level pedigree, can Petit-Frere rise into the Round 1 conversation with a good season?

Nicholas Petit-Frere NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Offensive tackle
  • School: Ohio State
  • Current Year: Redshirt Junior
  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 315 pounds

Nicholas Petit-Frere Scouting Report

Ohio State churns through high-level talent at such a high clip that it can take time for even five-star prospects to break out and earn lasting roles. It’s just the nature of one of the NFL’s top producers. The Buckeyes have had at least one offensive lineman selected in each of the last six drafts. They lay claim to players like Taylor Decker, Corey Linsley, Nick Mangold, and LeCharles Bentley.

It took longer than some expected for former top-15 recruit Nicholas Petit-Frere to become a full-time starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes. But now that he has, the Ohio State OT is quickly realizing his potential. For the Buckeyes and NFL coaches alike, that’s an exciting thought. Here’s a look at Petit-Frere’s scouting report and what kind of upside he carries as he nears the 2022 NFL Draft.

Nicholas Petit-Frere’s athletic profile

As is the case with most five-star players, Petit-Frere looks the part. He stands around 6’5″, 315 pounds, sporting a well-filled-out frame and good functional length. With that length, Petit-Frere has a wide field of impact. In a similar vein, he employs a strong, wide base, and he can cover a lot of ground in a short span.

Within his frame, Petit-Frere is an exceptional athlete. The Ohio State OT glides as a lateral mover, and he has great recovery athleticism. For his size, he’s extremely light on his feet and incredibly smooth out of his pass sets. His mobility also shows up on run-blocking reps, where he easily covers ground and directs opponents with steady leg drive. His explosive get-off allows him to reach defenders without much delay.

Beyond his mobility and short-range burst, Petit-Frere also has excellent fluidity and flexibility for his size. He can sink his hips to redirect players, and he’s especially polished flipping his hips upfield. Additionally, Petit-Frere has the torso flexibility to absorb power while maintaining his balance. He has a stout center of gravity, as well as good lean. He doesn’t bend at the hips, and he can bend his knees and flex without issue.

If Petit-Frere’s athletic profile wasn’t enticing enough, the Ohio State OT also boasts impressive functional strength. He rarely gets out-muscled, and he can anchor and move opposing players on command.

Execution beyond the physical traits

Petit-Frere checks almost all of the boxes physically. But what’s more exciting is that he’s not raw by any means. While he still has room for further refinement, a lot of operational building blocks are there — especially with his feet and hands.

As a pass blocker, Petit-Frere has fast, controlled feet. It’s very hard for defenders to direct him or steal control in one-on-one reps. Petit-Frere actively adjusts his footwork to gather opponents when engaged, and his strong base allows him to keep his balance. When opponents do generate displacement, Petit-Frere proactively uses his length to steer rushers outside the pocket.

While Petit-Frere’s footwork is excellent, the Ohio State OT also shows lots of promise with his hands. Petit-Frere has fast and violent initial punches. He can sink his anchors with massive amounts of force. As a run blocker, he carries his momentum into contact. With his explosive extensions and sudden hands, he catches opponents off guard and asserts his dominance.

Petit-Frere plays with a good pad level, and he’s flashed targeted hand usage on pass-blocking reps. He can latch inside the torso, attain leverage, anchor opposing linemen, and negate power with his grip strength. Going further, Petit-Frere can reset his hands quickly and re-exert force with dramatic quickness. He has a lot of stored potential energy, which is exciting for an offensive lineman.

Areas for improvement

The arrow is pointing up on an exponential curve for Petit-Frere. Even so, there are some issues to take note of. Most of Petit-Frere’s areas for improvement center around timing, placement, and positioning.

Petit-Frere rarely gets beat in pass protection, but when he does, it’s against explosive and bendy edge rushers. Petit-Frere has the athleticism and width to match, but he sometimes plays with a bit too much depth in the pocket. He gives edge rushers too much space at times. This can force him to lunge, and he can be late flipping his hips to track rushers as well. Additionally, the Ohio State OT occasionally has some wasted motion at the start of his reps, and he can choose better attack angles to seal off pass rushers.

Furthermore, Petit-Frere’s tendency to give up too much space can leave him vulnerable to inside rushes. He can be more consistent in bending his elbows to maximize the potential energy of his punches. Additionally, the Ohio State product could use more experience stacking counters, and his length — while solid — may not be proportionally elite.

Nicholas Petit-Frere’s NFL Draft scouting report overview

Petit-Frere still shows some room for improvement in his second season as a starter, but his transition from right tackle to left tackle has been seamless. He’s quickly trending up the 2022 NFL Draft board.

As a pass protector, Petit-Frere’s athleticism, strong base, footwork, and play strength enable him to erect a wall against opponents. And as a run blocker, Petit-Frere’s explosive get-off and functional strength allow him to move defenders with ease. He can flow to the second level and latch onto targets, clearing lanes for runners to break off big plays.

Petit-Frere should seek to build on his positioning and further improve his consistency with his hands. But as it stands, Petit-Frere is a robust, well-rounded physical specimen with an excellent operational floor. Tack on his versatility between left and right tackle, and he’s an ideal early-round tackle prospect. In a thin class, he can most definitely go in Round 1.

Nicholas Petit-Frere’s Player Profile

Petit-Frere’s play thus far in 2021 has been inspiring, but it’s something just about everybody should’ve seen coming. The question wasn’t “if” for Petit-Frere, but instead “when.” The Tampa, Florida native — who played basketball in high school — was a five-star recruit in the 2018 class, labeled the best player overall at his position.

Petit-Frere fielded scholarship offers from dozens of high-profile schools, including Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Michigan, Georgia, LSU, and USC. But for Petit-Frere, Ohio State’s track record of NFL development stood alone. He committed to the Buckeyes and enrolled in 2018.

Nicholas Petit-Frere’s career at Ohio State and NFL Draft ascension

Petit-Frere’s career as an Ohio State OT got off to a slow start. The five-star prospect redshirted his freshman season and played mainly as a reserve in 2019. However, things picked up in 2020 when Petit-Frere was elevated into the starting lineup as the right tackle.

Petit-Frere showed growth throughout the 2020 season, and in 2021, he was given the keys to the blindside spot while left tackle Thayer Munford moved inside to guard. The move to left tackle was a test of sorts for Petit-Frere’s NFL Draft aspirations, but thus far, he’s passed with flying colors. He stood firm against Minnesota and posted high-quality tape against Oregon.

For Petit-Frere, the audition isn’t over, though. As of this writeup, he still has matchups against Arnold Ebiketie, George Karlaftis, and Aidan Hutchinson on deck. If Petit-Frere can last through the gauntlet, he can solidify his stock as a potential first-round NFL Draft prospect.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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