Walter Nolen’s Draft Profile | Ole Miss, DT Scouting Report

    Can Ole Miss DT Walter Nolen validate his five-star billing and command first-round capital with his scouting report in the 2025 NFL Draft?

    A former No. 1 overall recruit, Ole Miss DT Walter Nolen has a great deal of hype entering the 2025 NFL Draft cycle. According to his scouting report, is that hype warranted?

    Here’s an in-depth look at Nolen’s game, and how his skill set translates.

    Walter Nolen’s Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 6’4″
    • Weight: 290 pounds
    • Position: Defensive Tackle
    • School: Ole Miss
    • Current Year: Junior

    Nolen has been anticipated as a 2025 NFL Draft prospect since 2022, when he was the No. 1 overall recruit in his respective class. He played at three different high schools, but closed out his career at Powell High in Tennessee.

    Upon completing his high school career, Nolen joined up with the Texas A&M Aggies and made an immediate impact as a true freshman. In his first year, Nolen logged 29 tackles, a sack, and 2.5 tackles for loss. In 2023, he logged career-highs in both sacks (four) and TFLs (8.5).

    After two years at Texas A&M, Nolen transferred to Ole Miss, where he’ll not only get to compete for a CFB Playoff spot, but also play on a defensive line stacked with NFL talent.

    And central to that unit is Nolen himself — a potential future early-round pick.

    Nolen’s Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Has a heavy, compact frame with great lean mass and elite proportional length.
    • High-end explosiveness, mass, and length combine to yield elite raw power capacity.
    • Can cave in blocks with his raw power and torque blockers off-balance in ruthless bursts.
    • Has shown he can effectively sustain bull-rushes with overwhelming leg churn.
    • Flashes mind-bending lateral explosiveness and range when repositioning in gaps.
    • Can use his lateral agility to execute inside counters after powering blockers upfield.
    • Has the raw strength to stack, shed, and create space to redirect in run defense.
    • Has a degree of natural leverage, with which he can one-gap and envelop runners.
    • Can use his strength and length to pry through gaps as a 3-tech and 4i penetrator.
    • Flashes great ankle flexion, which he can use to keep speed while splicing through gaps.
    • Has shown he can stunt outside from 4i and use bend to corner around the apex.
    • Shows glimpses of high-level combo work, stacking chops and rips on double-swipes.
    • Can attack inside the torso with jarring bull rushes, long arms, and forklift moves.
    • High-motor rusher who can generate pressure on second and third-effort plays.
    • Has the versatility to one-gap from interior alignments, or rush with power from 5-tech.

    Weaknesses

    • Slightly high-hipped frame can invite minor hip stiffness on direction changes.
    • Not overly twitchy, and can be a lumbering mover when forced to recover quickly.
    • Doesn’t have great torso flexibility, and can experience delays when worked upright.
    • Lack of elite hip flexibility sometimes prevents him from reducing and rolling past blocks.
    • Gets worked upright easily by initial contact, which jeopardizes leverage and base load.
    • Inconsistent leverage and base alignment makes him unreliable against combo blocks.
    • Is somewhat uncontrolled with his hands and pad-level maintenance after initial contact.
    • Is still relatively under-developed with his pass-rush arsenal beyond initial power.
    • Too often goes on auto-pilot and lacks a well-defined pass-rush plan.
    • Easily loses balance when pinning his ears back and attempting to drive power forward.
    • Lack of control on power rushes can impact malleability and counter quickness.
    • Can struggle with managing his lower body tempo and positioning in run defense.
    • Can improve his consistency with timing the snap, to avoid losing the contact battle.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    Entering the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, Nolen grades out as a top-100 prospect and a potential early-round talent. At the start of the cycle, he’s worthy of Day 2 capital, and he has the physical tools to eventually command Round 1 capital with more development.

    A former No. 1 overall recruit, raw talent is not at all lacking in Nolen’s game. He’s a certified power plant with his elite explosiveness, mass, frame density, and length, and he can use that overwhelming power element to break the offensive front from multiple spots.

    Beyond his power profile, Nolen’s raw strength, combined with his lateral explosiveness and unhinged motor in pursuit, makes him an intriguing playmaking presence in run defense as well — and his athleticism allows him to execute eye-catching recovery moves.

    Right now, Nolen’s game is still relatively raw, underdeveloped, and uncontrolled beyond his elite physical profile. He doesn’t have a consistent pass-rush arsenal beyond power, and his lack of control and precision can cause his rushes to stall out against better blockers.

    Nolen’s lack of control can be concerning in run defense as well. There are times when he’s late off the snap and loses the contact battle, and opposing power can easily work him upright, negating his leverage and pad level and rendering him easily disposed.

    Nolen has a degree of immediate utility with his elite power element and his alignment versatility as a pass-rusher, and his motor ensures that he’s always a threat to finish plays. That said, he lacks the control to be a two-gapper, and more improvement is needed for him to transition from a developmental prospect to a bona fide first-round prospect.

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