Nick Tarburton Boasts Experience & Tenacity Ahead Of 2023 NFL Draft
Nick Tarburton may not have the impressive statistics of his defensive teammates and counterparts, but he feels that he’s ready for the NFL.
The 6’3″ defensive end hails from Perkasie, Pennsylvania, where he was a four-star recruit and the No. 13 inside linebacker prospect in the nation, according to 247Sports.
Tarburton committed to Penn State as part of the Class of 2018 group of recruits. Upon arriving at Penn State, Tarburton eventually secured himself a roster spot at the defensive end position after some intense work and competition.
In his first season at Penn State, Tarburton saw action in only two games. The majority of Tarburton’s snaps came on special teams, but he did play a limited number of snaps on the defensive line and was named the Scout Team’s Defensive Player of the Week twice during his opening campaign. Tarburton didn’t see any game action during his second year at Penn State but was named the coaching staff’s Developmental Squad Defensive Player of the Week against Ohio State.
During the shortened 2020 season, Tarburton returned to the field for seven games where he totaled two solo tackles and one quarterback hurry. Tarburton’s first time adding to the stat sheet came in November against Iowa, where he carded his first collegiate tackle along with adding a quarterback hurry.
In his fourth year with Penn State, Tarburton started to find his footing as a defensive end and earned a recurring roster spot after an impressive season opener against Wisconsin. When the Wisconsin offense found itself deep in Penn State territory, Tarburton took advantage of a botched handoff and fell on a loose ball, changing the momentum of the game while also notching his first career fumble recovery.
Tarburton appeared in all 13 games during his redshirt junior season, starting in eight of the contests. The 2021 season was by far Tarburton’s most successful with 30 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, a fumble recovery, one quarterback hurry, and two pass breakups.
The redshirt senior forced his first career fumble early last season after bursting through the line and stripping the ball away from Northwestern quarterback Ryan Hilinski. Later in the game, Tarburton collected his second career fumble recovery when he fell on a bad snap during the second quarter of the rainy affair. Tarburton concluded his career with the blue and white in 2022 when he declared for the draft prior to the Rose Bowl.
Despite only carding three sacks during his time at Penn State and creating a huge impact on the stat sheet, Tarburton still had a large presence on the field. Tarburton’s skill was shown by shooting gaps and stopping teams from breaking off long runs.
After forgoing his extra year of eligibility, Tarburton plans to take his talents to the NFL. Currently, Tarburton is projected to either go in the late rounds or be an undrafted free agent, mainly due to his inability to consistently disrupt plays as a pass rusher. NFL scouts also worry about Tarburton’s length in regard to his ability to shed offensive linemen at the next level.
Despite Tarburton’s small stature, he is often able to react quickly to snaps and shoot gaps to disrupt offenses running games. At this year’s Pro Day, Tarburton recorded a 4.84-second 40-yard dash, about four-hundredths of a second slower than the average defensive lineman.
Because of the agility he displays, Tarburton is an asset to any run defense aiming to plug holes and stop the ground game. Tarburton also demonstrated that his size doesn’t restrict him from making solo tackles, as he tallied 26 during his five years as a Nittany Lion.
Off the field, Tarburton was a vocal leader for the defense during his last two years at Penn State. The Perkasie native was a constant presence in a defensive line room that’s seen a lot of turnover during the past few seasons, something NFL teams will be sure to note. With a lot of off-season training, Tarburton could absolutely find himself on a practice squad or in a supporting role for any NFL team this upcoming season.
“Being tough, being consistent, and just always being there for others. That’s kind of how I want to be viewed,” Tarburton told Lions247Sports after Penn State’s Pro Day. “Just being tough and just fighting for everything, and that’s kind of who I am.”
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