Photo of Montae Nicholson
4.92 ?
  • 4.42 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 35.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 125.0 INCH
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Top Performer
  • 6'2" Height
  • 33 3/8" Arm Length
  • 212LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/2" Hands


The Spartans' poor 2016 season caused Nicholson's play to be overshadowed by Ohio State and Michigan defensive backs. NFL scouts know, however, that Nicholson's athleticism and aggression make him a potential starter. He was an all-state football player and three-time track champion as a high school senior in Pennsylvania, then stepped into the starting lineup as a true freshman (three starts, 31 tackles). Nicholson tied for the team lead with three picks in 2015, making 83 stops, 2.5 for loss and helping MSU make the college football playoffs. He also participated on the track squad, placing sixth in the Big Ten Indoor meet in the long jump. As a junior, he made 86 tackles, two for loss, and intercepted one pass.



Height, weight and speed box checks across the board. Has a feel for route combinations and shades his coverage accordingly. Shows a willingness to trigger into anticipated passing lanes once he recognizes where pattern is headed. Long strider with some range over the top. Michigan State coaches expect him to test well in explosion drills. Takes few false steps and looks more comfortable in a Cover-2 shell.


Field toughness does not match his size. Ducks head into tackles and doesn't consistently square up his targets causing excessive missed tackles. Rarely imposes his will as a hitter. Leggy in coverage. Takes time to get hips and feet synced up when asked to mirror route breaks. Has had self-described confidence issues. Looks unsure of his responsibilities at times and will lose track of deep coverage. Just eight passes defensed over last two seasons which is a meager sum.

Sources Tell Us

"Big and beautiful with no impact on the game whatsoever. He just doesn't have the aggressiveness you need to play this game on this level." -- AFC national scout

Bottom Line

Nicholson has outstanding size and could test well at the combine and his pro day, but his tape is blah and no amount of workouts in shorts and t-shirts will change that. Nicholson's lack of playmaking production combined with his unsure tackling make him a traits-only prospect who could have a hard time sticking in the league unless he finds more confidence and aggression.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.