Nik Bonitto NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Oklahoma EDGE

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor I

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 20: Oklahoma Sooners OLB Nik Bonitto (11) works around the block of Iowa State Cyclones OL Derek Schweiger (64) during a game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Iowa State Cyclones on November 20, 2021, at Gaylord Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

HEIGHT: 6'3"


HAND: 9 3/8"

ARM: 32 1/2"

WINGSPAN: 6'6 3/4"

40-YARD DASH: 4.54

3-CONE: 7.07



BROAD: 10'0"


— Good acceleration. Covers ground with his second and third steps around the corner.

— Good speed in space. Can chase the quarterback or find the ball-carrier in the backfield.

— Great understanding of how to get skinny to slip blocks.

— Above-average ankle flexibility. Can widen out as he runs the corner.

— Flashed the ability to dip under contact and burst through light contact to the QB.

— Does well to see and trigger on his run fits. Did a decent job spilling plays even at his size.

— Pass-rushing approach is not stale. Can speed-rush, inside counter and spin, and constantly keeps his hands active.


— Light frame. Will need to add weight in the NFL, which may alter his playing style.

— Close to zero pop in his hands. Does not often engage with force, especially as a pass-rusher.

— Anchor wavers in the run game. Loses ground consistently, especially when double-teamed.

— Poor leg drive as a pass-rusher. Does not win head-up or when fighting through heavy contact.

— Tends to get narrow in his base and struggles to stay upright in congested areas.

— Relied on snap-jumping to help avoid/limit contact around the edge. Not as doable in the NFL.


11 G, 39 TOT, 15 TFL, 7 SK, 1 FF, 2 FR


— 4-star linebacker recruit in 2018.

— Three-year starter.

— 2020 second-team All-American (AP).

— 2021 second-team All-Big 12 (Coaches/AP).


There aren't many successful sub-245 pound edge defenders, but Oklahoma's Nik Bonitto is a decent bet on trying to break the mold.

Bonitto's wiry frame comes with positives and negatives. Strength of any kind is tough to come by on his film. His hands are crafty, but they have little power behind them, and he is seldom capable of controlling blocks once engaged. Bonitto also has no anchor to speak of. Likewise, his leg drive as a pass-rusher is lacking, which somewhat limits his options.

On the other hand, Bonitto understands his frame and does well to play skinny. He knows how to bend and contort his body to minimize contact surfaces and make it tougher to get a clean grip on him. Additionally, Bonitto is quick as a blink, which allows him to knife past people or quickly cross their face. His light frame also lends to his great speed and movement skills in space.

Bonitto shows some other encouraging signs as well. He sees in run concepts quickly and finds ways to get in on the play despite his body type. As a pass-rusher, Bonitto mixes up his approach enough, flashing inside and outside hand moves as well as a classic speed rush with decent bend.

Bonitto offers enough with his quickness, flexibility, and savvy to be a viable weak-side outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but he comes with clear drawbacks in terms of strength and physicality. He can be a designated pass-rusher right away with the hope that he can find a way to make his skinny build hold up as a three-down player.

GRADE: 7.2 (3rd Round - High-Level Backup/Potential Starter)



PRO COMPARISON: Haason Reddick

Written by B/R NFL Scout Derrik Klassen