After Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, and Charles Cross, the 2022 NFL Draft OT class is murky — can the scouting report of Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere eventually change that? There’s a lot of uncertainty with Petit-Frere’s profile. But there’s also noticeable upside present if he can fix some crucial pitfalls and refine his game. Here’s a look at the latest prospect in a long line of Ohio State tackles. Can he carry the torch and find success in the NFL?
Nicholas Petit-Frere NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 6’5 1/8″
- Weight: 316 pounds
- Wingspan: 81 3/4″
- Length: 33 5/8″
- Hand: 10 3/4″
Petit-Frere’s Combine/pro day results
- 40-Yard Dash: 5.14
- Bench Press: 24
- Broad Jump: 8′ 7″
- Vertical Jump: 30.5″
- Three-Cone: 7.85
- Short Shuttle: 4.85
Nicholas Petit-Frere Scouting Report
Ohio State has 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. The Buckeyes pride themselves on developing NFL talent at every position, and the trenches are not excluded from that trend. Just in this cycle, they have four trench prospects on either side of the ball. One of those prospects is Petit-Frere.
Petit-Frere was a top-15 recruit when he came out a few years ago. It took some time for him to lock down a starting role with the Buckeyes. But after a strong finish to the 2020 season, he locked down the left tackle spot and became a mainstay on the front five. There were ups and downs, but the Ohio State OT isn’t dissimilar from most prospects in that regard. The question is, what kind of upside does he have? And what does he need to do to reach it?
Petit-Frere’s athletic profile
As is the case with most five-star players, Petit-Frere looks the part. He stands around 6’5″, 316 pounds, sporting a well-filled-out frame and great 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 with his movements.
Within his frame, Petit-Frere is an exceptional athlete. The Ohio State OT glides as a lateral mover, and he has good recovery athleticism. For his size, he’s fairly 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 good fluidity and flexibility for his size. He sinks his hips to redirect players, and he’s fairly 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 often bend at the hips and can bend his knees and flex without issue. Petit-Frere can still get a little bit stronger, but he has flashed the ability to anchor and gather rushers with his length.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Petit-Frere checks almost all of the boxes physically. While he still has considerable room for further refinement, he does show flashes of solid footwork and hand usage. If he can expand those flashes with more consistency, he can become a great player.
As a pass blocker, Petit-Frere has fast, active feet. The Ohio State OT actively adjusts his footwork to gather opponents when engaged, and his strong base and knee bend allows him to keep his balance at times. When opponents do generate displacement, Petit-Frere proactively uses his length to steer rushers outside the pocket.
Going further, the Ohio State OT also flashes with his hands. Petit-Frere has the capacity for fast and violent initial punches. He sinks his anchors with impressive amounts of force, and he hooks under his opponents’ pads to gain leverage. As a run blocker, he lowers his pads and carries his momentum into contact. With his explosive extensions and aggressive energy, he drives players back with ease.
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. Petit-Frere can reset his hands quickly and re-exert force with surprising quickness. He has a lot of stored potential energy, which is exciting for an offensive lineman.
Areas for improvement
The arrow is pointing up for Petit-Frere’s development. Even so, there are some issues to take note of — issues that may prevent him from being a high-level starter early on. Most of Petit-Frere’s areas for improvement center around timing, placement, and positioning.
Petit-Frere has the athleticism and width to match rushers, but he plays with inconsistent depth. He doesn’t always get back far enough with his kick, which gives edge rushers too much space. This can force Petit-Frere to panic and lunge, and he can be late flipping his hips to track rushers as well.
Additionally, Petit-Frere occasionally has some wasted motion at the start of his reps, and he can choose better attack angles to seal off pass rushers. His feet, while fast, can be choppy and muddy as a result of his streaky coordination. The Ohio State OT can be indecisive when timing his extensions. And his anchor is very inconsistent, largely because of this.
Moreover, Petit-Frere’s tendency to give up too much space can leave him vulnerable to inside rushes. He could be more consistent in bending his elbows to maximize the potential energy of his punches. Additionally, the Ohio State product could improve against power. He sometimes opens his torso too much, and he can get driven back by bull rushes.
Petit-Frere’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
Petit-Frere can be a punching bag at times in this tackle class. Rough outings against Michigan and Penn State, in particular, make it easy to sour on him. But if Petit-Frere can fix a few flaws in his process, he could become a better pass protector. He has the requisite athleticism, length, and power capacity. He’s shown he can anchor, even if consistency is an issue. More refinement is simply needed.
Petit-Frere still struggles with timing, footwork, reaction, and upper/lower synergy. While he has an active base, his footwork can at times become frantic and uncoordinated. He also doesn’t always extend at the right moment, swerving between indecision and overeagerness. He has solid lateral mobility, but Petit-Frere can sometimes be late to recover. Improving his kick and refining his footwork could go a long way toward minimizing some of these concerns.
When he’s sound, Petit-Frere has shown to have good knee-bend capacity. He has the athleticism to match rushers and flip his hips to direct them outside the pocket. He’s also shown he can hook under pads and anchor with solid grip strength. Meanwhile, Petit-Frere’s already stellar as a run blocker, with great explosiveness, violence off the snap, and a road-grader mentality. His versatility to play left or right tackle provides value.
Petit-Frere has the athleticism, violence, size, and urgency to be a scheme-versatile blocker, especially for teams that value run blocking. Even after an up-and-down 2021 campaign, there’s upside worth investing in. Late Day 2 or early Day 3, Petit-Frere can be a solid swing tackle early with starting potential.
Petit-Frere’s Player Profile
Petit-Frere’s play in college, at his peak, was 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 native — who played basketball in high school — was a five-star recruit in the 2018 class and 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.
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 he 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. He wasn’t perfect and sometimes shifted over to right tackle. Still, he showed plenty of promise in his bright moments.
Players like Arnold Ebiketie and Aidan Hutchinson gave Petit-Frere trouble — high-motor rushers with good athleticism, speed-to-power conversion, and hand usage. Petit-Frere has the tools to eventually come out on top, but those low moments put a spotlight on his technical issues. If he lands with a good OL coach, he could develop into a starter at left or right tackle. He could also translate well at guard if it comes to that. At the very least, he can be a valuable swing tackle.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report on Nicholas Petit-Frere
Positives: Large, athletic left tackle prospect with a massive upside. Smooth, agile, and shows good footwork off the edge. Stays square, controls defenders at the point, and can adjust to knock blitzers from their angles of attack with explosive hand punch. Effective with his hands, easily turns defenders from the line, and seals them from plays. Keeps his feet moving and can be an overwhelming force. Bends his knees and generally blocks with proper pad level.
Negatives: Slow picking up stunts or blitzes. Must improve his balance and gets twisted on occasion. Played terribly against Michigan and was handled by Aidan Hutchinson.
Analysis: Petit-Frere is large and mobile, and he’s a natural left tackle who should only get better in time. He has starting potential once he polishes his game.