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.”