Nwosu quit football in middle school, focusing more on basketball, before returning to the gridiron as linebacker in high school. Viewed as a safety recruit due to a lack of size (185 pounds), he was mostly a special-teamer as a freshman at Southern Cal.
After another year as a backup, he produced 3.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss as a junior before collecting 9.5 sacks, 11.5 TFLs and a whopping 14 passes defensed as a senior, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2017.
He was a bit up-and-down at the Senior Bowl, harassing quarterbacks at times but also going through quiet stretches.
A bit of a one-hit wonder, Nwosu blossomed into a star for the Trojans in 2017. He uses first-step quickness, natural leverage from his shorter stature and 33 5/8-inch arms to threaten the edge. He also shows a knack for batting passes when on quick-timing throws and displays surprisingly good instincts in coverage. Coaches have lauded his growth and maturity over time.
However, Nwosu is a liability setting the edge in the run game. He doesn't show the play strength to consistently hold up, isn't as speedy in pursuit as his hustle suggests and is inconsistent as a tackler. He also collected many of his sacks against lesser athletes and struggles to adapt when he can't win with first-step quickness.
With a 'tweener body type, Nwosu projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker as he did at USC, but his coverage savvy could lead 4-3 teams to try him off the ball. Either way, he should earn sub-package rushing opportunities.
--Field Level Media
Career Defensive Stats