NFL Draft

2020 UDFA Player Profiles: Auburn FB Spencer Nigh

With the 2020 NFL Draft in the books, we’re wrapping things up by offering player profiles on all the UDFAs signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The franchise’s history is strong with diamonds in the rough though in recent years. Hopefully the can find some who may have been overlooked in this year’s group.

#99 Spencer Nigh/ FB Auburn – 6006 255

The Good

  • Size and arm length
  • Solid lateral slide to mirror pass rushers
  • Awareness to find most dangerous defender and find open areas in scramble drill
  • Solid agility to lead on the edge on outside runs
  • Core special team player

The Bad

  • Hand strength and use of hands to lock on and control defender
  • Gets out over his toes and needs to stay inside when blocking in pass pro
  • Extremely limited as a receiver
  • Chest exposed as a run blocker led to absorbing first contact
  • Wasn’t often used in true FB alignment or usage on inside runs

Bio

  • 39 games, 9 starts
  • Career and 2019 stats – 2 receptions, 33 yards, 1 rush, 2 yards
  • 2018 – SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • In high school, he was first team all-Houston defensive squad and Class 5A state champion as a senior in both shot put and discus
  • Father played RB at Arkansas
  • Graduated in January 2019 from the Harbert College of Business

Tape Breakdown

You don’t see the number 99 often on offense often, even in college, but that is the number sported by Spencer Nigh. The Auburn Tiger fullback was aligned all over the offense, mainly on the wing, but was also used inline and in the slot. He was also a core special team player as the up back on kick return, a personal protector on punts and on the wing on extra points and field goals.

In the passing game, when blocking on the edge he shows good pad level, a solid lateral slide and a willingness to strike the first blow. He displays good awareness to work from the inside out on slide blocks and solid strength to push defenders up the arc. When blocking from the backfield he keeps his head on a swivel looking for free defenders. His work in the passing game was limited to curls and quick outs from the wing and slot and showed good awareness on the scramble drill to find open areas.

Vs Oregon, here is the first catch of his career.  Lined up in the slot right he’ll run a short curl and makes a solid hands catch and lunges forward for 4 extra yards.

 

Vs Minnesota, here is his second and last catch of his career. Lined up on the right wing he runs a flat route before turning it up field on the scramble drill and makes a body catch for a 24 yard gain.

Vs Minnesota, from the left wing he’ll slide across the formation and will slide with the defender to keep him outside.

 

In the run game, he was most effective leading on edge runs showing solid agility and strength the move smaller defenders. He was solid in double teams when lined up inline and was effective on his cut blocks.

At Texas A&M, from the left wing he gets hung up a bit sliding right to lead block inside but once there uses leverage to turn and drive out the ILB.

 

Vs Alabama, he’s in a two point stance on the left wing. He’ll lead outside and absorbs the hit from the defender and displays good effort to still execute the block

 

In pass pro, he gets over extended with his punch allowing defenders to side step him and needs to stay inside of rushers. He doesn’t sustain his blocks and didn’t display the hand strength to control rushers. As a receiver he has adequate quickness off the line and rounds off his routes. He has adequate hands making one hands catch and one body catch with a bobble. As a run blocker, his hands were slow often leading to him absorbing the first punch from defenders. He lunges and dips his head into his blocks leading to minimal sustain and him falling off of blocks. He wasn’t often used as a true FB to lead up the middle.

Vs Oregon, he starts in the right slot and motions to the wing. This is a slide block to the left and he lunges with his head down into the edge defender.

 

The Steelers invested in Derek Watt in free agency to be their fullback so Nigh’s chances are already limited. He’s a willing blocker but his technique as a run and pass blocker needs a lot of work.  It’s unlikely the Steelers will keep a fullback on the practice squad so Nigh’s best chance is to impress another team in preseason. At the least he’ll be on the “in case of injury” list during the season.

Chance to make the team: <1%

Games Watched:  2019 – Vs Oregon, At Texas A&M, At LSU, Vs Alabama; 2020 – Vs Minnesota

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