Raiders coaches recognized excellent Senior Bowl efforts by sticking their team’s logo on a player’s helmet. Most were earned with excellent play on the Jon Gruden-led North squad.
Three were given before Saturday’s game, and former Delaware safety Nasir Adderley got one. It subbed for a captain’s “C,” acknowledging great leadership and play during Senior Bowl practices.
It was proof Adderley had an impressive week in Mobile, Ala. during this annual NFL draft showcase. He entered the game with one Raiders sticker. He left with three.
A late interception helped increase his total following a strong game that capped a solid week and surely increased his draft stock.
“He can play safety, nickel and maybe even some cornerback out there,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “He has good feet. He’s smart. He attacks the ball well. He has done a good job for us.”
Adderley could do a good job for Guenther’s defense full-time, though the Raiders might have to use a late first-round pick or an early second-rounder to secure his services.
“It would be incredible,” Adderley said. “Anybody drafting me would be a blessing, after all the hard work over the years. It would be nice to see it manifest.
“I want to be someone they can trust, someone who is reliable. I want to be someone who can move around, and isn’t limited by anything. I’m looking to go out there and be the best me.”
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Adderley was awesome at Delaware. He played cornerback his first two years, rotated between free safety and slot corner as a junior and played deep full-time as a senior.
He had nine interceptions and a forced fumble his last two years at Delaware, and hasn’t been weighed down by a small-school stigma to this point in the pre-draft process.
“Coming from where I went to school, there’s a frequent question I’m getting: ‘Do I have a chip on my shoulder?’” Adderley said. “I’m confident in my ability. If I do all the little things I’m supposed to do and focus on my coaching and my technique, I’m going to be just fine.”
Adderley was a big-school talent coming out of Great Valley High near Philadelphia, but created some roadblocks going to a major college program.
“That was on me,” Adderley said. “I had an interesting recruiting process. I struggled academically. I was young and immature. I didn’t understand the importance of academics, and then I got a rude wake up call. I had a good junior season (in high school), and I had dream FBS schools come to talk to me. Day after day, I was told those schools would love to have me but they couldn’t offer me because they didn’t know I was going to clear (academic standards).
“I just had to grind. Then, come senior year, I ended up on honor roll and FCS schools started to realize that. FBS schools started to realize that after I committed to Delaware, they started coming back.”
Wake Forest made a scholarship offer late. Syracuse invited him on a recruiting visit. Adderley stood by his Delaware commitment, and it hasn’t hurt him at all.
He should be one of the top safeties selected in this year’s NFL draft, and brings the versatility the Raiders covet. They also need someone who can play free safety and be a ball hawk in the back, something Adderley’s role model Earl Thomas does as well as anyone.
He won’t rest on laurels after a strong Senior Bowl, and will continue to push and prove himself at every stage of the NFL’s pre-draft process.
“I never take my foot off the gas,” Adderley said. “Someone’s always working. I want to be one of the best to ever do it, so I’m not going to settle. I’m moving on to the next chapter. I’m thankful to have had a good college career, but I’m ready to make a difference.”