Nebraska’s defense has been the bright spot of the season so far and a big reason for that has been the play of JoJo Domann. Domann has thrived playing as the nickel defender in Nebraska’s 4-2-5 defense this year. With Domann’s performance against Purdue I focused on his NFL Draft outlook in this week’s Scouting Perspective.
Against the Run
Against the Boilermakers, JoJo Domann was flying around the field making plays and accumulating 13 tackles. His ability to make open field tackles was evident on quick throws to the outside, but his highlight came when he burst forward in the second half to lay a hit on Purdue tight end Payne Durham causing him to do a full flip.
While Domann played a large portion of the game out in the slot against Purdue’s three and four receiver sets, he also showcased his ability to play in the box. On a key 4th and 1, it was Domann who was able to lay a big hit on the running back to clean up the tackle and stop him short of the first down and give Nebraska the ball back for a shot to score before the half.
Domann mainly plays in zone coverage and is responsible for the flats on the wide (field) side of the field. Throughout the game Domann was mostly effective in zone coverage against Purdue, as he forced quarterback Aiden O’Connell to move off his first read a few times. Domann did give up a catch on an out route late in the game but it was a tough play to make as he had to honor the run fake and couldn’t flat enough to take away the passing lane.
While Domann didn’t play much man coverage, he did show nice ball skills on a slant route to get around the slot receiver and knock the ball down. That being said Domann was flagged for pass interference as the official determined that Domann made contact with the receiver too early. It was a bang/bang play that could have gone either way, but I did like how Domann played the ball in the air.
While Domann plays a hybrid linebacker/secondary type role, his best fit in the NFL is as a stacked linebacker. Domann’s ability to play in coverage, make tackles and even be a blitzer. In today’s NFL these skill sets are what defensive coordinators want. At a minimum I believe that Domann has the traits to be considered a backup/special teams player who has a chance to develop into a role player on defense. Domann has a good shot to be drafted on day three of the 2022 NFL Draft, but how he tests in the speed drills will likely determine what round he’ll go.