Dion Novil UDFA profile

North Texas nose tackle, Dion Novil, is a tricky player to evaluate. I recommend watching his 2020 games and almost entirely ignoring his 2021 games. Novil played at a considerably lower weight in 2021 and they made some changes to how he was being used in the defensive scheme. I think he'd have a better chance if he bulked back up in the NFL, which could take some time and make him not ready to contribute this season. If he can work on his body and improve his technique, maybe in future years he would have a better chance at making the roster.


Hula Bowl: 6' 5/8'' tall, 301 pounds, 32 1/8'' arms, 9 3/8'' hands, 80'' wingspan.

Pro Day: 6' 1/2'' tall, 300 pounds, 32 1/2'' arms, 9'' hands, 78 7/8'' wingspan.

5.18 sec (40 time), 1.84 sec (10 yard split), 29.5'' vert, 8'9'' broad, 27 bench reps, 5.0 sec (shuttle), 7.97 sec (3 cone)

Novil is short with below average length and athleticism for a DT. He is comparable to Andrew Billings, who was a 4th round pick in 2016. For comparison, SJD was 6'3'' tall, 299 pounds, with 34.5'' arms and an 82.5'' wingspan. A'Shawn Robinson is nearly 6'4'' tall with 34.5'' arms.

Parents divorced when he was young. Single mom raised 6 boys. Job opportunity and desire to keep her sons out of trouble led her to move family from West Palm Beach, FL to Abilene Texas his sophomore year in HS.

Basketball was his preferred sport. 2 star recruit. Team captain in 2020. One of 5 team captains in 2021. Degree in integrative studies (business, kinesiology, communications) with minor in management. Graduated with honors, had 4.0 GPA in 2020.

Turns 24 years old in November. Has a humble, grounded and reserved personality. Plays video games in his spare time.

Listed at 253 pounds in 2017. Weight increased each year, was 330 pounds in 2020. New DC changed defensive approach and asked him to slim down for 2021, was listed at 308 pounds last season.

2021: 49 tackles, 9 TFLs, 4 sacks, 2 FF, INT, 2 blocked kicks. Had 8.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks in 2020.

Was primarily a NT on a 3 man front.

PFN: Explosive 3 tech DT. Terrific 1st step, outstanding pad level. Closing burst, quickness on stunts. Gets knocked off the LOS, easily displaced by block, occasionally tall pad level. Game leveled off after 2019 season.

Footballsapient: Below average speed. Very limited athlete, little lateral quickness. Surrenders ground against run. Huge upper body, stout, built lower body. Looks like a brute, but just average power. Good 1st step, comes off LOS with intensity. Average explosion. Very stiff athlete. Excellent job splitting double teams. Good hand usage, powerful swim move, difficult to contain, decent tackler. Motor isn't great. Consistent pass rusher. A 3-4 NT or a 3 tech in a 4-3 scheme. 5th to 7th round grade.

Chad Reuter 12th best available UDFA DT.

Lance Zierlein 5.57 grade (UDFA) Could land on PS. Flashed 2 gap power. Lacks explosive get off, plays upright and narrow at times. Wears down during game. Doesn't use hand effectively vs double teams. Needs to shed blocks better. Has frame to add more muscle and mass. Slanting front didn't fit his skill set.


In 2020, was explosive going straight ahead off of the snap. Blows solo blockers off of the LOS, driving them backwards. Explosive splitting the A gap to penetrate between the C and G.

Has rip move. Effective swim move. Active hands.

Stacks and sheds the center, bench pressing him. Shed center and tackled RB.

Upper body strength.

Had 10.5 career sacks and 37 TFLs with 4 FFs. So, while he projects as a NT, he did show the ability at his lower level of competition to get into the backfield and make disruptive plays. If he could develop, might be able to stay on field in pass rushing situations, which would be valuable.

Does good job extending and getting his hand up to try to block FGs. Had 3 career blocked kicks.

Solid football character and leadership, holds other players accountable. Will respond to a team that has a family atmosphere and culture. Intelligent and listens to coaching.


Struggles to hold his ground at the POA. Gets driven off the LOS by double teams and moved off his spot by double teams. Gets washed out of his gap on zone runs. Doesn't drop anchor well, plays with high pad level. Struggles against double teams. Can get driven at least 5 yards off of LOS some plays. Gets put on ice skates and driven super wide when blocked by side on double team or combo blocks. Unable to hold the point on short yardage GL play.

Lacks quickness and agility to make plays outside of his area. Slow in pursuit. Mediocre athlete. Balance issues and falls down.

Slow to disengage. Lacks counter moves. On short 3rd down, stuck on block, unable to counter back into the hole to stop the RB from picking up the first down. Slid off of tackle, resulting in long run.

Below average length. RBs can slip out of tackle attempts.

Top heavy, lacks lower body mass relative to his hulking upper body.

Not tall or a leaper to block FGs.

Limited ceiling. I don't see him ever being more than just a backup.

Rams Outlook

Novil isn't going to last long in the NFL unless he learns to hold his ground better against blocks. You can't be a space eating NT if you repeatedly get blown off the LOS.

If he can add more weight and learn to sit down better against double teams, he has a fighting chance, because at times during his career he flashed the ability to overpower offensive linemen and drive them into the backfield and to use his upper body strength to stack and shed them.

I don't see Novil making the roster as a rookie, he doesn't look like he's ready to play at the NFL level. There is enough potential that perhaps he could earn a PS spot if he shows progress during camp.

The Rams already drafted Bobby Brown in the 4th round in 2021. Brown is 6'3'', 325 pounds with 34 3/4 arms. Novil isn't going to beat him out, but there is an opportunity for him to earn a spot as a depth backup.