When the Wisconsin Badgers transitioned to a 3-4 base defense in 2013, they immediately experienced success but never had the true nose tackle that the defense has typically needed. Enter Olive Sagapolu, the 330-pound true freshman coming in from national high school power house Mater Dei High School in California.
Sagapolu has been a mainstay in the middle of the Badgers’ defense over the past four years, taking on double teams and doing the dirty work that has allowed Jack Cichy, T.J. Edwards, and Ryan Connelly to thrive and catch the attention of the NFL. However, now it’s Sagapolu’s turn to test the NFL waters and see where his abilities take him.
Weight: 324 pounds*
40-yard dash: N/A
Vertical jump: 30.5”*
Broad jump: 8’6”*
Short shuttle: 4.53 seconds*
Three-cone drill: 7.71 seconds*
Bench press: N/A
*Listed height from Wisconsin’s 2018 roster; Sagapolu was not invited to NFL Combine; results are from Wisconsin pro day in March; told reporters he weighed in at 324 pounds.
Strengths: Thick build throughout, particularly in his lower half. 3-4 nose tackle build. Has shown ability to two-gap in odd fronts. Stout at the point of attack. Can get upfield and attack the “A” gap when asked to do so. Has exhibited the ability to read different blocking schemes.
Weaknesses: Can he play on third down? Doesn’t have much experience in nickel/even front situations. Hasn’t shown ability to be anything but a pocket pusher as a pass rusher. Has been dinged often during his college career.
Summary: If this was 2009, Sagapolu’s ability to play nose in a 3-4 would make him an early Day 3 option, but with the NFL currently in the section of the cycle where they play in sub packages the majority of the time, a 3-4 only nose tackle isn’t in high demand. Was listed at 342 before 2018 season, stated at Wisconsin’s pro day he was 324 pounds. Will need to show ability to play the “1” technique in even fronts, and rush the passer to be more than a practice squad player in year one.
Round Projection: Round 7—Undrafted Free Agency