Saints’ Natrell Jamerson draws favorable comparison to Dennis Allen’s first draft pick as a head coach
After visibly improving as a cornerback during his time in training camp, Natrell Jamerson has recently attracted the attention and praise of both Sean Payton and Aaron Glenn, putting the Saints’ 2018 5th round pick squarely on the radar of the media.
While you will likely read multiple articles about Jamerson in the coming days, none of them will make the correlation between he and former 12th overall pick D.J. Hayden.
My colleague and partner in crime Deuce Windham once told me that coordinators have a legitimate hand in the scouting process as it pertains to what talents fit their scheme, and the selection of Jamerson has Dennis Allen’s signature all over it.
The Saints’ 3rd year defensive coordinator likes to have matchup CBs on the roster. Marshon Lattimore playing the right or weak side CB is capable of banishing a team’s No. 2 WR to the shadow realms, allowing the flexibility to shade your safety to the left or strong side where most team’s No. 1 WRs line up. Lattimore is also the best candidate on the roster to handle the bigger receivers like Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Devin Funchess that have taken up residence in the NFC South.
What the secondary is currently lacking, however, is a smaller/quicker DB with the ability to match up with shiftier receivers like D.J. Moore, DeSean Jackson, and Calvin Ridley that can play on the boundary as well as move inside to the slot.
The Saints’ current solution to this problem is having a pure boundary corner in Ken Crawleypaired with a pure slot corner in Patrick Robinson, but if you could create a Frankenstein DB and combine the two, you would get a player in the mold of Broncos corner Chris Harris - A defender capable of being deployed on the outside in base packages and then kicking inside to cover the slot on passing downs.
Insert Natrell Jamerson.
There were a ton of questions when it was made known that Jamerson would first be looked at as a cornerback after entering the draft as a safety. Upon further inspection, you’ll see that he’s got a lot in common with Hayden in what he offers athletically and as far as traits.
The similarities start with both DBs sharing a 4.40 forty, 10 foot broad jump, and 5’11” height. Both also came out of college with above average tackling ability, Jamerson’s more or less developed from his time playing safety.
The proverbial buck stops there however, as Jamerson begins to separate himself like Michael Thomas on a slant route.
He proves to be a tick faster over the first 10-20 yards, and I’d like to think this speaks to his slightly better vertical jump as he best Hayden in that category (33.5” vs 35.5”). This is important because post draft analyst have mentioned that Hayden’s lack of explosiveness limits his ability to “click and close” on the ball making him appear a step late at times.
Jamerson also has a leg up on Hayden as it pertains to weight, checking in at a solid 201-lbs versus 191-lbs for Hayden. Combined with his 25 reps on the bench, it suggests he should (A) be apt to stay healthier in his career and (B) end up less likely to get bullied in press coverage and at the catch point by bigger receivers.
In other words, the rookie appears to be the 2.0 version of Hayden that only went unnoticed until the 5th round because of a position switch he took on for the better of the team.
Dare I say, plus intangibles?
The most amazing thing about this is the Saints were able to get a Hayden level talent in the 5th round while it cost Allen and the Raiders a 1st round selection. Jamerson not only benefits from not having the weight of being a high selection on his shoulders but he also gets the time necessary to develop due to Crawley and Robinson being established starters in front of him.
It’s still early in his development, but the Saints defense under Allen may have found another diamond in the rough to add to an already potent secondary.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) passes as offensive tackle Brad Seaton (60) blocks Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry (58) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP P
While most of the attention has been on the Seahawks wide receivers and running backs, the competition to backup Russell Wilson at the quarterback spot has been an intriguing battle.
Both Austin Davis and Alex McGough have had their ups and downs in this competition. However, Seattle’s preseason loss to the Los Angeles Chargers was definitely a win for McGough, who took a huge step forward in cementing himself as Wilson’s backup QB in 2018.
McGough completed 9-of-12 passes for 97 yards and one touchdown. He earned an overall grade of 72.5 from Pro Football Focus. He was even better with a clean pocket, completing 7-9 passes with a 143.5 passer rating.
On his touchdown drive, McGough completed all six passing attempts while marching the team 70 yards for the score. His touchdown as a 12-yard strike to Malik Turner.
Meanwhile, Davis only threw three passes, completing one for six yards. He saw the field quite a bit more in Seattle’s first preseason game, but a costly interception in the red zone dampened his otherwise solid performance.
Head coach Pete Carroll has not given any strong indication which quarterback will remain on the 53-man roster after cuts. However, McGough was the first quarterback Seattle has drafted since Wilson in 2012, likely giving him an edge on the job.
Brad SeatonBrad Seaton may have been the star of the first preseason game. He climbed from the bottom of the tackle depth chart to a starter with the help of a ton of injuries.
Seaton entered the game with no expectations, but he quietly gelled with the starters. As an offensive lineman, sometimes when there’s no mention of your name, it means you had a good day.
On short notice, Seaton held his own against the Miami starters. While Demar Dotsonworks his way back and other linemen sit out practice, Seaton can continue to rise through the ranks.
Natrell Jamerson is hoping to justify the New Orleans Saints’ investment of a fifth round draft selection this year, and so far the former Wisconsin defensive back has been on the right side of the team’s evaluation.
Especially the one being made by defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn, who after the Saints’ practice on Monday had a brief but revealing comment on how well the rookie has been playing so far this summer.
“Look out for him,” Glenn said, unprompted. “Watch out for Jamerson.”
The Saints’ coaches have been watching the rookie in this summer’s training camp practice sessions, and so far they like what they see. Jamerson came into the league with a reputation for straight line speed to match receivers downfield, sticky coverage abilities, and a knack for lateral motion that helps him stay step for step with pass catchers.
Coaches have also seen a marked improvement from the player from the spring to the summer. In Sunday’s one on one drills, for instance, Jamerson pulled down a one handed interception in coverage against veteran wide receiver Michael Floyd. After that, the rookie broke up a pass attempt in the red area on a play meant for fellow rookie Tre’Quan Smith. On the whole, Saints passers are finding that Jamerson is giving them some good tests of accuracy when throwing near him.
Jamerson has also been getting some opportunities with the special teams unit as a return option, in a competition that head coach Sean Payton has compared to The Bachelor.
All this improvement comes at an opportune time. Reserve cornerback P.J. Williams is dealing with a minor ailment sustained in the Saints’ preseason opener against Jacksonville, and the team recently parted with De’Vante Harris. Jamerson should use this window to make a further impression on coaches as he contends for a roster spot.
“It’s just getting the little things down,” he said. “I know what to do. The coaches know I know what to do. It’s just making that next step into just making plays and finishing and doing the little things right.”
Over four years at Wisconsin, Jamerson, a former three star recruit according to the 247Sports Composite, started out as a wide receiver before turning to the cornerback position and then finally finishing up as a safety with the Badgers.
In that time, he had 88 combined tackles, five for a loss, two picks, and 14 pass breakups.
What’s the biggest adjustment for Jamerson as he goes from amateur to professional?
“Competition,” he said. “That’s the main thing. Coming out here every day, everybody wants to eat. You just got to make sure you want to eat more than the next person in front of you. So just come out and compete every day, every practice, and take steps every practice.”
The Titans have to get more consistent offensive line play this season. Protecting Marcus Mariota is essential, but a new offensive scheme that’ll require more pulling from guards on outside runs and screens only enhances the vitality of the interior offensive line.
Spain is the incumbent starter, but Pamphile has been earning first-team snaps in practice. It stands to reason that a strong performance from Pamphile combined with a poor one by Spain could move the newcomer into the starting unit. It’ll be tough to focus on offensive line play with so many other factors to watch on offense, but left guard will be a compelling story line all preseason.
Over the first 24 hours of their training camp, the Steelers swapped out one rookie defensive back from Villanova for another. They cut the only player who failed their conditioning run, too.
The Steelers on Thursday signed Malik Reaves, a 6-0, 200-pound player whom the Steelers list as a cornerback but whom other outlets have projected as either a corner or safety.
Wednesday, the Steelers waived/injured Trey Johnson, who was Reaves’ teammate in the Villanova secondary but showed up to camp with a shoulder injury. Reaves spent about six weeks with the Kansas City Chiefs this spring after signing as an undrafted free agent.
His official NFL.com draft profile lists size, awareness and toughness as Reaves’ strengths but questions his athleticism.
Journeyman Bryce Harris was released with the designation of non-football illness on Thursday, a day after he did not complete the camp-opening conditioning run .
The first practice of 2018 training camp was scheduled to begin 2:55 p.m. Thursday.
The Cardinals will finally put on the pads Monday morning, a practice that will be open to the public. Sunday's work was the last where the Cards couldn't be in pads, but there was a lot going on -- work that looked a little more sharp as the players get into the swing of camp. Some quick thoughts:
-- The defense was very active, breaking up a number of passes on the day with a number of different people, whether it was linebacker Haason Reddick or defensive backs Antoine Bethea, Lou Young III and Chris Campbell. Young particularly has seemed to stand out throughout the offseason and early in camp. (It's fair to say that's in part because Young clearly likes to celebrate after he makes a play, which tends to get you noticed. But you have to make the play in the first place, and he has.)
-- Vontarrius Dora got more first-team reps at defensive end, but so did Benson Mayowa, and it's pretty clear that spot -- as long as Markus Golden is sidelined -- is very much open.
-- With Jermaine Gresham still out, it sure looks early like the blocking tight end is going to be Gabe Holmes, and given how much this team might want to run, that could give Holmes the edge as starter. Ricky Seals-Jones is still your primary receiving tight end, though.
-- We know the first-unit offensive line (from left tackle, Humphries, Iupati, Shipley, Pugh, Smith). The guys lining up at second unit for now are Will Holden, Evan Boehm, Mason Cole, Josh Allen and John Wetzel.
-- Defensively, the top line is Dora, Peters, Nkemdiche, Jones. Second unit is Mayowa (who obviously got work with the first string too), Pierre, Gunter, Albright.
-- At cornerback, Jamar Taylor is working across from Pat P on the first unit, with Young and Brandon Williams the backup cornerbacks. As promised, Tre Boston is working with Bethea and Budda Baker in nickel as a trio of safeties, with linebacker Josh Bynes in for Boston in the base defense.
-- Earlier in the day, coach Steve Wilks had praised veteran receiver Greg Little and undrafted rookie receiver Trent Sherfield as having stood out on Saturday. In a room in which much is up in the air beyond Larry Fitzgerald, it was notable.
Rookie cornerback Natrell Jamerson knows his spot on the New Orleans Saints isn't guaranteed. So the fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin knows he has to fight his way onto the final 53-man roster.
And he's doing so at a new position. Jamerson spent most of his final college season at safety, and statistically, that was his most productive year for the Badgers with 51 tackles, 12 pass breakups and two interceptions.
But the Saints think he fits their system as a cornerback.
"Being able to let him be a corner full-time is going to help him a lot," Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn said. "Because he does have the athletic ability to play the position."
Jamerson said that's been the biggest adjustment he's had to make since joining the Saints for OTAs. He said getting into the mindset of playing cornerback is the main thing he has to do to successfully make the transition -- that and listening to his coaches.
"Trying to transition back to the corner mind-state, it's a lot of things that I'm not used to doing because of playing a different position," Jamerson said. "But whether it's (Aaron Glenn) or a vet or another coach that's coaching me on something, you know, I'm taking it all in and making sure I don't make the same mistakes over and over. I'm just trying to show 'em that I can go out there and play."
He said he'll have to polish off techniques he didn't have to utilize as much playing safety such as press coverage.
"Making sure I'm good off the line with my backpedal and things like that," Jamerson said.
Jamerson seems to be making the transition well as he's made plays in practice including a nice breakup in Thursday's full team drills.
While he knows he has a lot to learn he's confident he'll be able to make the transition smoothly.
"Football is football regardless," he said. "You can call it different things but its the same concepts."