Roosevelt Nix has been one of the best unsung heroes of the Pittsburgh Steelers early this season. His run blocking skills have worked him into the offensive lineup in place of a reliable Will Johnson who had been with the offense for multiple years.
During the Steelers' week 5 matchup with the San Diego Chargers, Le'Veon Bell racked up 111 yards on 21 carries. The Steelers' offensive line deserves credit as much as Bell does, but so does Nix. He is great at engaging defenders both in space and at close range from behind the backfield. He also has incredible drive and shows considerable fundamentals when he takes on defenders, adapting to each situation with what is necessary to get the job done.
Here, Miller chips his man but Nix seals him off from Bell just long enough to spring him for this big run. Bell indeed does create a lot on his own, but Nix is becoming an integral part of this offense. Notice how Nix is able to engage and stay with his man throughout the play until Bell is well past his man and running down the field.
Here Nix has to locate and engage his assignment, Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle, on the edge of the play to open up the outside for Bell. He not only finds him, but he finds him quickly and aggressively drives him eight yards down the field and puts him on his back. When you can assign your fullback to take out a crucial defender like Weddle from a defense's run-stopping scheme, it's a major advantage to the offense.
Nix not only gets his pad level beneath Weddle's, but he also uses his leg drive to take Weddle away from the play.
Nix takes on Weddle on the edge yet again, but this time Weddle gets his pads under Nix giving him an initial advantage. However Nix does a great job reacting to Weddle's play and smothers him almost immediately to make him a non-factor in Bell's decision making at the line of scrimmage.
Pittsburgh has been looking for a solid traditional fullback since Dan Kreider departed for Arizona. Will Johnson was doing an acceptable job at the position but was coming off as more of a third tight end rather than a primary run blocking fullback. Nix, on the other hand, continues to prove his value for Pittsburgh in the running game. He and Bell may bring back the fullback as a regular staple in the Steelers offense.