High School and College Career
Nick Hampton, from Westside High School, joined Appalachian State after graduating from high school. In his freshman year, Hampton played in only four games for a total of 25 snaps for the Mountaineers. During this time, he recorded two tackles.
As a sophomore, Hampton’s involvement with the Mountaineers increased the following year as he played in 14 games and took part in 287 snaps. His stat line showed continuous improvements, as he recorded 10 tackles, and 31 total pressures, including 19 QB hurries, six QB hits, and six sacks.
As a junior in 2020, Hampton played in ten games, for 384 snaps. He had 30 tackles, one pass breakup, with no interceptions and a QB rating when targeted of 94.6. He also continued to excel as a pass rusher, producing 24 total pressures, including 18 QB hurries, three QB hits, and three sacks on the year.
Hampton’s senior year, however, proved to be his most impressive, as he logged playing time in 14 games and a total of 621 snaps for the Mountaineers. He recorded 39 tackles, one pass breakup, no interceptions, and a QB rating when targeted of 82.1. As a pass rusher, he tallied 52 total pressures, including 35 QB hurries, five QB hits, and 12 sacks, highlighting his exceptional skills in pressuring the quarterback.
During his fifth-year senior year in 2022, Hampton continued to impress as he played in nine games and logged a total of 392 snaps. He recorded 18 tackles, and 25 total pressures, which included nine QB hurries, seven QB hits, and nine sacks on the season.
Nick Hampton Scouting Report Introduction
Hampton’s length and flexibility are among his standout qualities, allowing him to influence the quarterback even when engaged with blockers while turning the outside corner. However, while he has the potential to fill a starting role for a defense, he may need some time to develop and grow into his potential. He may require a rebuilding franchise that is willing to allow him to work through the necessary growth to reach his full potential.
Hampton has impressive verified 34-inch arms and excellent movement skills, enabling him to showcase his bendy and pliable style in cornering situations. He also demonstrates good awareness of when to take corners off the edge and when to try to use his power to run through blockers. Additionally, his finishing ability is one of his best qualities, as he does not struggle to gear down or react quickly and effectively in short spaces.
While Hampton excels as a pass rusher, he may struggle to collapse the pocket due to his stature, and this may take him off the board for some teams. He may not have the necessary mass to bull some bigger tackles or handle stacking tackles or tight ends without having baked-in leverage into his pre-snap alignments. He could further improve his deconstruction skills with more powerful hand stuns and more developed shedding techniques.
When it comes to expectations for Hampton, he is likely to function best as a designated pass-rush specialist early on in his NFL career. He may struggle to command high snap volume early on, particularly for a contending team. However, his ability to press vertically up the field and bend the edge will be valuable in third and long situations. Ultimately, his ability to fill out his frame and play stout on early downs will determine how quickly he sees starting snaps, but he has the potential to reach his full potential before the end of his rookie contract.
Nick Hampton’s exceptional speed and athleticism allow him to chase and pursue opponents on the field effectively. In addition, he has the necessary agility and spatial awareness to hold up in space when dropping back into coverage.
One of the standout features of Hampton’s style of play is his ability to shoot gaps, making him a formidable presence on the field, particularly on passing downs. In terms of his playing style, Hampton has the skills necessary to play as a Mike, with the ability to shed blockers with violent hands and impressive functional strength. He has the quick acceleration needed to cover ground in space and close in on opponents. Additionally, Hampton shows surprising toughness when it comes to tackling opponents between the tackles, and has a particularly fluid and quick drop into zone.
Hampton’s anchor strength is lacking, which can lead to him not being able to hold his ground against larger linemen. If Hampton cannot properly set the edge, it opens up the opportunity for the opposing team to make plays and gain valuable yardage.
In addition to his struggles with anchor strength, Hampton has also been evaluated as not having elite skills when it comes to pass rushing. He lacks a lethal counter move, meaning he struggles to adjust his approach if his initial attempt fails effectively. This can make him predictable to the offensive linemen who are tasked with blocking him, thus reducing his effectiveness on the field.
The end resukt of all of these struggles is that Hampton is not a player who can be relied upon to constantly create pressure,
Nick Hampton is the 139th prospect on our draft big board.