The Pittsburgh Steelers got themselves a gem at the fullback position. A true athlete that can block, tackle, and even lay the lumber on opponents. Roosevelt Nix created many splash plays in 2015 and had to work hard to make the 53-man roster.
Originally, the Steelers intended to use Nix as an inside linebacker, but he was moved to the fullback position. Nix's special teams performances were ones to watch.
Today we will take a look at some plays where Nix really stood out and showed the Steelers why he deserved to be on the roster.
Seals the edge for a walk off TD
Roosevelt Nix's presence was felt in a week 5 matchup against the San Diego Chargers. In all honesty without Nix's outside edge block on safety Eric Weddle, it is likely that the Steelers would have lost the game.
Nix knew his assignment, identified Weddle as his target and took him out of the hole.
Weddle gets his pads under Nix which gives him an initial advantage, but Nix does a fantastic job at reacting to Weddle's play and smothers him to the ground. This gives running back Le'Veon Bell a better opportunity to score a walk off touchdown.
Forced fumble against Raiders
The Steelers and Raiders week 9 matchup was a slugfest which Pittsburgh ended up winning, and Nix made a key play on special teams that helped the Steelers prevail. Nix is not just an adept lead blocker, but he has also made himself a valuable special teams player. When you want a job, you make yourself an indispensable contributor with multiple talents, and Nix showed he could do just that in 2015.
Nix hustles every time he is on the field which gives him every opportunity to make a play happen when it is there to be made. Nix puts his helmet perfectly on the ball when making this tackle to force a key turnover that helped Pittsburgh take control of this game.
Best attribute: Blocking
Nix's best attribute is his ability to block defenders and open lanes for running backs. Against the Indianapolis Colts he served as the leading blocker for DeAngelo Williams when Pittsburgh was backed up against their own goal line.
Notice Nix's short, choppy footwork which puts him in the best position to make this play. He quickly accelerates into the gap while getting his shoulders under the pads of the linebacker but keeping his head up so that he can make the play. His fundamentals throughout 2015 were impressive and a true asset to Pittsburgh's ground game. With Le'Veon Bell returning in 2016, the Steelers may have a player that allows them to use more two-back formations in series.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have found a true fullback in Roosevelt Nix. The last time the organization had a solid traditional fullback was when Dan Kreider was on the roster in the early-to-mid 2000's. Nix's play was so consistent that Pittsburgh felt comfortable with letting go a veteran fullback in Will Johnson who showed that he was an adequate lead blocker as well as an acceptable option as a receiving back out of the backfield. The team ended up missing Nix's presence late in the season when he suffered a season-ending injury in December, but there's no reason to not expect him to have a successful return in 2016.
It is always great to have a old school hard hitting fullback on your team's roster. They provide solid blocking and can change the dynamic of the game like Nix did against the Raiders and Chargers. He and Bell will be a great duo for many years to come, as Nix is only a 24 year old third year player.