I’ve been in the school of thought that the Saints will take a versatile safety in this draft. I think that the signing of Kurt Coleman was a good one, but he’s no long term solution at the position. Natrell Jamerson will likely find his work in special teams and as a nickel corner. It makes sense to plan for the future by making sure we have a young, flexible option in the defensive backfield. In the fifth round of this year’s draft, the Saints found one. I honestly expected this to be Siran Neal or Godwin Igwebuike but Jamerson and his 4.40 40 bring some extra electrifying talent to the plate.
Natrell played four years at Wisconsin, but only the final two on defense. He played his freshman year as a wide receiver, handled kickoff responsibilities primarily his second year, played nickel corner his third, and settled in at safety for all 14 games of his senior year. All of this while playing every element of special teams play. He was considered the best special teams player in this draft because of his abilities as a returner, gunner, and jammer. That’s a ton of value to find in the fifth. I think this is an example of how great the Saints are when it comes to scouting college players.
In the final year when he settled in at free safety he put together 51 total tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 10 passes defended, and a touchdown against Northwestern. As the primary kick returner in 2015 he averaged 22.4 yards per returned and took one back for a 98-yard TD. He’s another player, like Tre’Quan Smith, who has a winning attitude coming out of the senior Wisconsin class with the most wins in school history. He was also the Defensive MVP of the Eat-Wast Shrine Game and a part of a fantastic Badgers defense with the mentality of a player that loves to get his hands dirty, make contact, and remain active in the running game which can bite him from time to time when he misses angles. Will want to work on his tackling technique but will have excellent teachers in Aaron Glenn and fellow defensive backs. The Saints say they are wanting to use him as a nickel corner, which is excellent for him being that he’ll be able to learn from one of the best from last season in Patrick Robinson.
Though the media grades him as a seventh-round/UDFA prospect, he’s already being touted as a steal. This is exactly the kind of pick that New Orleans has an affinity for making. But let’s keep it real, he’s going to have a lot of development ahead of him in order to become an asset on the defensive side. Thankfully, though, he’s got the time. No doubt, however, that Dennis Allen and Mike Westoff just found a really, really skilled player that they can have a ton of fun with on the defense. He’ll be an interesting one to watch throughout training camp this year.