Wisconsin trio could be in play for Seahawks

March 14th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

Wisconsin could be something of a supply line for the Seahawks in the draft. In our Seahawks seven-round mock recently we had them taking Leon Jacobs (LB) and Natrell Jamerson (FS).

Tony Pauline reported on Wednesday that Seattle had dinner with Jamerson and cornerback Nick Nelson after the Badgers’ pro-day.

The Seahawks love speed at linebacker and Jacobs was one of the few to run particularly well at the combine. At 6-1 and 246lbs he ran an impressive 4.48:

He’s not as tall as previous LEO projects but he has good arm length to make up for it (33.5 inch arms). He tested well in the vertical (34.5) and broad (10-2). Crucially he also ran a 1.58 10-yard split — the measure of initial quickness and burst. Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin and Barkevious Mingo all ran in the 1.5’s.

As a linebacker prospect Jacobs also ran a similar short shuttle to K.J. Wright (4.44 vs 4.46). In many ways he’s a solid fit. There are limited LEO prospects in the draft or free agency (thus the Mingo signing). He’s a hitter who plays with intensity. He has the demeanour that you want in a linebacker and the potential to develop into a solid pass rush contributor.

Not many players can do this to a left tackle:

He reads plays particularly well and plays with patience. Here he is blowing up a screen:

Here is showing patience in the open field and then the closing speed/finish to make the TFL against the running back:

Here he is handling a receiver to make a one-armed TFL:

There weren’t really any players like Jacobs in last years draft (when Pete Carroll talked about adding youth to the linebacker position). He’s the perfect combination of size, speed, explosive traits and intensity. There’s work to be done here (he was more of a role player at Wisconsin) and he’ll need refining. There aren’t many players with a higher physical upside in this draft, however.

Natrell Jamerson initially stood out for his special teams value. He flies around and recorded 20 tackles on kickoff coverage. He can be a gunner and a returner:

As a safety there’s also an awful lot to work with. He ran a 4.40 at 5-10 and 201lbs so he has range. Somehow he managed 25 reps on the bench press at the combine despite the weight disadvantage (try benching your body weight +25lbs). That’s an incredible achievement. At the Wisconsin pro-day he add three inches to his vertical jump (38) and also improved on his broad jump (10-3).

With Earl Thomas’ future still relatively undecided, the Seahawks are assessing the draft options. Tony Pauline previously noted interest in Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates III. Jamerson has the raw tools and instinct in zone to make plays like this:

I needed to take a look at Nick Nelson. He wasn’t on the radar. After all, why are the Seahawks meeting with him? He’s somewhere between 5-10 and 5-11 and has 30 3/4 inch arms. He is the very definition of a cornerback they don’t draft. He only ran a 4.52 at 200lbs too.

Yet watching him at Wisconsin, it’s clear why they’re showing some interest. Arguably there isn’t a cornerback in this class that plays tighter coverage. He smothers receivers and blankets them, frequently getting a hand to the football.

His performance against Maryland’s D.J. Moore (a possible first round pick) was outstanding. He’s #11 for Wisconsin:

Look at the first attempt in the red zone and how quickly he closes space and narrows the throwing window for the quarterback. On the second red zone snap, he’s all over Moore. There’s no chance for the quarterback to get him the ball.

At the 1:45 minute mark you’ll note the long, looping pass thrown by the quarterback that falls incomplete. Watch after the ball drops to the ground. Nelson comes in and absolute dumps Moore on his backside. It’s a bit unnecessary but fun nonetheless. Seattle has missed some of that attitude recently.

The only reception Moore completed came on a play where Nelson forces him to re-route and he steps out of bounds before illegally catching the pass. At about the 3:20 mark he has blanket coverage on Moore downfield and plays the ball to force an incompletion.

He pitched a shut-out against one of the most athletic, tough and highly rated receivers in the draft.

In total Nelson had 21 passes defended in 2017 — the most in college football. He recorded 42 for his career. It’s very clear why. His footwork is efficient, you don’t see him fooled on double moves. He’s just sticky. It all looks so effortless. He mirrors receivers, tracks the route, doesn’t make many mistakes and when the ball’s in the air he’ll compete.

He’s thick set and physical. He looks like a tremendous prospect to handle slot-corner duties. In an emergency even a team like Seattle could probably trust him to put in a shift outside.

You also wonder if they see him as a possible safety project. After all, he’s so far away from Seattle’s prototype cornerback. They simply don’t draft guys like this. His size, composure, timing and reading of the game could fit a move to free safety. He plays with the competitiveness of a Seahawks safety, that’s for sure.

He didn’t do the agility tests at the combine but he took part at the Wisconsin pro-day:

There’s some quickness on show here:

Nelson received a second round grade from the draft committee but he’s being projected to last a little longer than that.

Jacobs, Jamerson and Nelson are three names to keep an eye on here. All three are highly athletic, physical and competitive. They’re winners. And the Seahawks are going to need to draft some young players like this for their defense.

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96 Responses to “Wisconsin trio could be in play for Seahawks”

  1. Steven says:

    Its always being said that PCJS took advantage of trends in the market with ignored physical body types, could that be changing again? and could PCJS be changing who they will look for?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I doubt it — but there’s always that one player you like despite the physical measurements. Even so, they might see Nick Nelson as a safety or slot corner. He’s one of the top five cornerbacks in this class, for me.

      • Dale says:

        I doubt they looked at Russell Wilson and said “Oh good, he’s 5’10″” but they were smart enough to draft him anyway.

      • McZ says:

        Yeah, Nick Nelson is a Top-5 CB. Maybe a CB we cannot draft due to lack of picks.

        If Nelson is a safety project, and if flexibility is always handy, why not draft Siran Neal at a later round, in the process getting a player 100% within Seahawks requirements, and who played WR, S and CB?

        His play at Senior Bowl was not too shabby.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I’ve not studied Neal but Nelson was an eye-opener. Superb cover corner. Incredible. Would be very interested to see him working inside, competing with Coleman to be the long term nickel.

  2. drewdawg11 says:

    It makes a lot of sense. Early in the year people were lauding the Wisconsin defense and so I had to watch for myself. I was surprised at how fast they played. Obviously I expected a certain level of physicality, but man they were fast. These guys may be some excellent projects for the Hawks to take outside of the first day of the draft. Nice write up, Rob.

  3. Michigan 12th says:

    Do you think Jacobs will be available when we get a pick again? Are you counting on Seattle trading back a couple times and ending up with a third or possibly two, or do you think he will be available in the fourth with the lack of athletic linebackers in this draft? He looks like a very good prospect with high upside.

    Jamerson is very intriguing. Do you think this gives us any insight into what will happen with ET? Or would drafting him just be adding to the roster as a possible long term solution?

    Good stuff Rob thanks for your efforts.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In my last mock I had Jacobs in R4 but I’ve seen him projected later than that. I put him there due to need/tools. But yes, I do think they will trade back at least once.

      As for Jamerson — one way or another they have to look at safeties. Earl is out of contract in a year. So even if he isn’t dealt this week they might need an alternative in 2019.

  4. peter says:

    Nice writeups. I wonder about the shorter arms so it’s hard for me to really get to enthused nelson. But may some analytics guys could look but to me it’s felt like Seattle has been getting roasted in the slot does while so maybe the arm length paradigm is actually trumped by needing someone to play coverage at such a high level.

    • peter says:

      For awhile…I meant to say.

      Dear WordPress let’s get some grammarly going on as a widget.

      • JimQ says:

        FS-Earl Thomas, Texas,
        5-10/202, 31-1/4″-arms, 4.43/40, (4.39/40 at pro day), 113″ broad. 21-Reps.

        • peter says:

          True. He’s the only one though. As per a corner? Hasn’t happened yet. Earl also was someone pc has covered and knew so from his wealth of college players.

  5. drewdawg11 says:

    Arm length is obviously important, but in the slot, agility and physicality have to be ranked higher. It’s a two-way go, so you can’t be a slouch. If a kid is agile, can be tough with the slot receiver and can flip his hips and stay in his man, that’s important for any defense. Most of all you have to have some bulldog in you to keep coming back even when you’re beaten.

  6. Frank says:

    Off subject slightly, but why haven’t I heard anything about Malcom McDowell being able to play. If he was healthy would they be looking at a Suh, or is he seen as a Micheal Bennett replacement?

    • RealRhino2 says:

      I think it’s because the family didn’t want the Seahawks to make his injury/health issues public. Have no idea why. If he suffered a spinal cord injury, just say so. If he suffered a brain injury, just say so.

    • DC says:

      Suh is unlike anything we have seen in the PC/JS era. You’d have to go back to Tez to find a better Seahawk DT. No one is really a MB replacement either. McDowell has his own unique blend of size & athleticism that intrigued the top brass. I’m counting him out until he’s in.

  7. Greg Haugsven says:

    The more I look into it the more I like the Mingo signing. Here is his numbers:

    Signing Bonus is $2.2 Million and $3.2 million is guaranteed

    Year—–Base—–SB Pro—–Roster Bonus—–Cap Hit

    2018—–$1m—-$1.1m———$300k————-$2.4m
    2019—–$3m—-$1.1m———$300k————-$4.4m

    There is also potential of $3.3 million in incentives

    • Patrick Toler says:

      So 2.4M this year and if we want to cut him in a year, it’s a 1.1M hit. I agree, pretty good.

  8. Greg Haugsven says:

    Wisconsin is a good school to choose from as well because they play football more like a pro team. Hard nosed defense with a running game and play action.

  9. 503Hawk says:

    JS needs to quit trading away 2nd & 3rd rounders. I think the trend started all the way back when he traded for QB Jesus.

    • Mike L says:

      I’ll trade draft picks for proven NFL starters all day long..

      • Hawktalker#1 says:

        It’s just so easy to be critical when you’re a fan on the outside looking in. I find myself there too often.

    • Trevor says:

      I will never complain about the Brown trade can you imagine trying to find a LT in this free agency group or draft class?

  10. 503Hawk says:

    I heard KJ was interviewed on some show and he reportedly said how ‘depressing’ it was with so many coaches and players leaving. I say “great! Bring it on!” Our beloved Hawks had turned into a toothless old lion. Time to churn and burn.

    • Ed says:

      Yep, a year late by my timeline, but ready for some changes.

      • Mike L says:

        yup..which is why I think ET needs to go too..the Cowboys thing..the “can’t get comfortable” going into his final year without an extension..bye

        • Ed says:

          I hope they don’t get greedy like they did with Sherman. Get a 2nd and 3rd or 4th and be done with the drama.

    • Dale says:

      Toothless old lion? They were a field goal away from ten wins. Last year they had the second best odds to get back to the Super Bowl. You don’t just bail on that opportunity. It didn’t work out so they’re retooling. Kudus to them for making the changes and having a plan. College or Pro, bigtime football is all about the right coach implementing his system efficiently. Like Rob said, circumstances kinda pushed them out of their comfort zone but their headed back their now.

  11. lil'stink says:

    Dallas just restructured Travis Frederick’s contract to free up $7 million this year. Apparently they have several other options to free up even more $$. The timing makes me wonder. Hmmm… Dallas seems to always be kicking the can down the road in terms of cap space, though.

  12. Mike L says:

    Rob..thanks for taking a fresh look and keeping an open mind on Nick Nelson

    • peter says:

      it’s not hard to take a look at these guys it’s unfortunately the seahawks have at times ridiculous parameters to deal with.

      Nathan Sheppard is one of my favorite d linemen in this draft but his arms are about 5/8″ too short. so I don’t keep my hopes up. Nick Nelson looks awesome but is,about the opposite of who they draft.

      • DC says:

        Just because they haven’t doesn’t mean they won’t.

        Also, if they look at Nelson as DB and not a pure CB then does the 32″ arm length apply?

        • Volume12 says:

          He’s probably more of a safety hybrid where Jamerson could be a safety or CB. He does have experience playing corner.

        • Patrick Toler says:

          Yep, just because the haven’t, doesn’t mean they won’t. It’s always worth remembering that we are dealing with very small sample sizes. They apparently like arm length at certain positions, but I don’t think we can say that for sure they won’t take any player who doesn’t meet those parameters. It may just knock them down the board a bit.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I think we can say with some confidence we know what they’ll target at corner. It will be a surprise if they take Nelson even after meeting with him. But arm length doesn’t seem to be as important to them at slot corner and safety and they might see Nelson as a possibility at either position.

        • peter says:

          I rarely like that response. Actually because someone hasn’t is a good predictor that they wont. Especially when you look at the wide range of picks they have made and a few obvious things pop out.

          and they keep picking to type. Now if we want to talk different o linemen then that’s one thing because we have no idea now. But the man making the db calls is still in charge.

  13. RWIII says:

    Earl could end up in Houston. The Texans have much more cap space then the team with a star on their helmet.

    • DC says:

      In regards to your post on the last thread RWIII.

      We have cap space now so there’s no immediate need to cut Avril. He’s waiting on some more medical info to make a decision about retirement vs training and playing. If cap space is needed he can be cut at any time. If he came back healthy he is absolutely worth his contract $$$ imo and that is still what I’m hoping for.

      Pony up for Suh. He’s our one splash. Good core group of DL.

      DT Suh, Reed, Jones
      DE Clark, Avril, Jordan, Mingo

      • RWIII says:

        DC: Totally agree. If JS cuts Avril it works for Seattle but it doesn’t work for Avril. If Avril is cut later on he is going to miss out on the big bucks.

  14. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    Great stuff. Nelson looks so Seahawky, even if his arms are short. He’s someone who will find his way onto the field, either in the slot or at safety. Probably a little light for deathbacker but he plays aggressively enough for that too. I could see them moving up a round to get him in the 4th. Don’t think he’ll last past that.

    I really like the Mingo signing. I had hoped SEA signed him last preseason. He’s got the physical tools, and now some veteran experience. Here’s to Ken Norton Jr bringing out his best.

  15. cha says:

    Jane Slater
    @SlaterNFL
    C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed
    8:02 PM · Mar 14, 2018

  16. drewdawg11 says:

    That’s one heck of a restructure. Welp, now they can afford to extend Earl lol. Actually they still can’t.

    • Dale says:

      Who helps the Cowboys more, Dez Bryant or Earl Thomas? I believe the Cowboys would seriously consider dumping Bryant if he won’t take a pay cut, they’re kind of sick of him. Either way they clear enough cap to fit Earl.

      • Drew says:

        Dez’s production has really dropped as well.

      • peter says:

        Well there’s a bit of talk about sample sizes but there. Is a many year multi quarterback data set that says Dez Bryant at the end of the day hasn’t been the final piece to push them over the top….so maybe it is time for Dallas roller him go.

    • DC says:

      They could extend Earl and lower his 2018 cap hit. If they want to get it done they can. Dallas is showing $65M in 2019 cap space. They could keep Lawrence, Martin and ET.

  17. Pran says:

    Earl and Suh may both have to happen same day…

    • RWIII says:

      Was watching on total access. The Cowboys have 7-8 million in dead money left over from Tony Romo’s contract. However, Jerry Jones did say that it was fairly easy to maneuver the salary cap. Of coarse with that thinking it’s no wonder Jones still has big time dead money from the Romo contract.

  18. Millhouse-serbia says:

    Where I can find draft value chart that JS uses?

    Rob, if you could choose, what would you take after trading back:

    1. 18 (900p) for 33(580) + 58 (320)
    2. 18 (900) for 33 (580) + 85(165) + 87(155)
    3. 18 (900) for 58(320) + 60 (300) + 62(280)

    For the first combination we could trade only once with some of these teams:
    CLE- 33,35,64
    NYG- 34,66
    IND -36.67
    NYJ – 37,49,72

    For second we could trade only once with BUF – 53,56,65,96

    And for third we need multi trades down as you already described.

    I would choose trade with NYJ, 18 for 37 and 49.

    If we trade for early 2nd round and two late 3rd we will almost 100% get a chance for Wynn, Hernandez or Corbett but maybe we won’t have chance for one of , Chubb, Johnson, .

    If we trade for 3 picks (all 3 late 2nd early 3rd) there is a real possibility that all of Wynn, Hernandez and Corbett are gone.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m not sure we’ll get that kind of value.

      It might take two smaller trades down.

    • Sea Mode says:

      If the opportunity arises, definitely option #1. Gotta get in range for both OL + RB.

    • RWIII says:

      Mill: I don’t see the Colts, Cleveland moving up period. The only way the NYG, Jets move up is if for some reason they don’t take a QB with their first pick.

  19. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    Of the recently cut FA floating around the NFL

    I could see Eric Ebron landing in Seattle. Big guy. Has some ability to be a pass catching TE, but can block like a traditional TE. I do not think he will be terribly pricey…. bring back Willson and bring in Ebron… TE position is solved.

    • Drew says:

      Personally I’d prefer to move on from Willson.

      • peter says:

        Why? I he’s basically what you get with a late round te. He has his moments and then he doesnt. I’m not a husky homer but I like the “idea” of asj, but it’s not as if he’s had a better career than willson. He’s probably or it seems to have a higher ceiling but really he’s never put it together.

        • Logan Lynch says:

          I’d rather let Willson walk and draft a late round TE or sign a cut guy if for no other reason than to cancel out the Mingo signing and get back to 2 comp picks.

  20. Volume12 says:

    They obviously have more bigger needs, but depending on how FA shakes out Seattle wouldn’t draft SMU WR Courtland Sutton with their 1st selection… or would they?

    • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

      Grab Jordy Nelson!

      • Volume12 says:

        I agree. Possibly even Terrelle Pryor. But let’s say they can’t get either. Is Pete really gonna try and put everything on the run game?

        • Millhouse-serbia says:

          There are rumors that Browns want Pryor back but he is asking to much money.

        • peter says:

          I don’t we nelson or Pryor in the slightest. One will be 33 and has solidly average production minus years ago in a super pass first offense.

          and Pryor is a nice story but really he doesn’t bring any consistency.

          and this comment is from one of maybe two fans who is actually it impressed with our recievers and after losing prich thinks that’s a real need this year. Sorry to the moore fans but cynically I’ll see it when I see it. this draft has a lot of unique talent and some players like chark and a few others that I think could do some nice things right away.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Sutton is incredibly Seahawky and fits the profile they have been missing, a big WR with outstanding agility.

      That said, it would definitely be a typical “out of left field” move fitting to our FO!

      The only way I could see it happening is if they really feel they can just let Solari work with the OL we currently have, then we work the trades but instead of OL+RB in R2, it would be WR+RB.

      I definitely wouldn’t put it past them though.

      • Mike L says:

        in general..I prefer using high draft picks on defense and FA money on offense…because to me defense is more about desire and offense is about execution.

  21. Old but Slow says:

    My prod on this that we will see focus on the running game early (Yay Rob) in the draft but the free agent market is a different animal. Mingo is a start, but I am thinking that much of the FA moves will be with a LB/Leo, maybe a DT, depending on developments with certain others, and very likely toward some blocking TE’s. A WR is certainly not out of consideration, but the big question for me is how much can we extend this without crippling the future?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I will write about this later today but I think the key is DL and TE this week, setting them up to address the running game and competition + speed on defense in the draft.

      • Trevor says:

        Agree 100%

        Look at the Eagles and Vikes last year those DLs were amazing and as a result they made very average secondaries look really good.

  22. Sea Mode says:

    Really like that Wisconsin trio. Especially Leon Jacobs after seeing those clips. Approaching day 3 draft crush status… 😉

    I also had read about Nelson getting a R2 grade from the committee, but with the condition that it was pending his 40 time. I don’t think 4.52 was the target mark the committee had in mind…

    That said, if we are looking at him to provide competition in the slot since Lane is likely out, the comp for Nelson to Justin Coleman is super close. I’ll throw in Mike Tyson too for reference:

    J Coleman: 5105, 185, 31 1/4 arm, 4.53 40yd, 37.5vert, 10’4″ broad, 3.98 SS, 6.61 3C, 20 bench
    N. Nelson: 5105, 200, 30 3/4 arm, 4.52 40yd, 36.5 vert, 10’3″ broad, 3.88 SS, 6.69 3C, 17 bench
    Mi. Tyson: 6007, 204, 31 3/4 arm, 4.52 40yd, 33.0 vert, 09’8″ broad, 4.26 SS, 7.14 3C, 17 bench

  23. Kenny Sloth says:

    #11 flashed a ton in all Wisconsin footage. Nothing spectacular, but consistent and scrappy

    I was actually surprised by how badly DJ Moore looked in Leon Jacobs’ tape.

  24. Trevor says:

    I am afraid to even start getting my hopes up for Suh or Richardson to be honest.

    If I had to guess I bet both Suh and the Honey Badger sign with the Jets and Richardson goes to the Raiders.

    JS will likely sign Dial and Clinton Mcdonald.

  25. Trevor says:

    Was thinking last night the Cards could let go Honey Badger because they drafted Buddha Baker who is almost a clone. Another guy we passed on for McDowell. We would not be nearly as worried about potential losing ET if he was on the roster.

  26. Rob-Not that Rob though says:

    I don’t understand how Ebron is an option or why everybody is so hot on signing him. His blocking makes a Windows anti virus look like a steel trap. He was supposed to be the next unstoppable pass catching TE but now he has a problem with spiking the ball before he completes the catch (61% catch rate). He was so worthless, Even pass happy Detroit didnt think it was worth it.

    So if he can’t block, and he can’t catch…why are we excited about this?

  27. Trevor says:

    Hawks and Vikes have been frequent trade partners. Laquan Treadwell had been a disappointment and been in Zimmers dog house since day #1. He was a talented guy coming out and clearly needs a change of scenery.

    I know Pete liked him coming out. What do you guys think about a 7th or even a 5th for Treadwell? He could be available cheaper after training camp but it would be nice to give him an off season with Russ.

  28. drewdawg11 says:

    That guy hasn’t done much with his opportunities, and I liked him in college. For a 7th maybe… but if he does blow up you won’t have him long before you have to pay him off if a year of solid production. He’s just not very refined. Not super fast. Doesn’t get separation. He’s a poor man’s Donte Moncriwf, and even he is not a desirable player to most teams.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Treadwell has just coasted through his career so far. Mediocre combine and now zero impact with the Vikings. Would rather add a rookie or Michael Floyd.

      • Trevor says:

        I was going to mention Floyd as another option. I just think with the loss of Graham they could use a big red zone target. Maybe that will be Pryor or ASJ who are clearly better but I just think they will be too pricey.

  29. RWIII says:

    Rob: So far Cliff Avril has not been released. What is the hold up? Do you think Avril could actually be a Seahawk in 2018?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I suspect the Seahawks are merely letting the situation play out. There’s no rush. They have cap room. He apparently has a doctors appointment shortly. They might be waiting to see if he even wishes to continue playing. I think, eventually, they will part ways. But it’s not something that has to be decided now.

  30. RWIII says:

    I am also a bit surprised no has gobbled up Sheldon Richardson. I am really surprised that Muhammad Wilkerson only got a 1 year deal for 5mil. That is shocking.

  31. […] the Seahawks make any new signings I’ll update this post with some notes. If you missed it yesterday don’t forget to check out our piece on a trio of Wisconsin defender… and some thoughts on Seattle’s addition of Barkevious […]

  32. Logan Lynch says:

    All these Wisconsin boys being talked about just makes me wish we had pried Jim Leonhard away for a spot on our coaching staff. He’s got that defense playing lights out and is a rising star in the coaching ranks. Coaches the same way he played, scrappy and tough with a chip on his shoulder for being “too small” and a former walk-on. He would have been a great fit.

    • Mike L says:

      yeah..he’s great..might take a DC position to get him though (since that’s what he is with the Badgers)..and I can’t really argue with the Norton Jr hire..

  33. AlaskaHawk says:

    I just read another draft which has Vita Vea available at #18 – from Will Brinson CBS. There are at least a few scenarios that have him falling. If he was there, is it worth a shot? Or is the offensive running game rebuild more important?