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How Natrell Jamerson fits with the New Orleans Saints

A Q&A with Canal Street Chronicles

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It took until the fifth round, but Wisconsin Badgers defensive back Natrell Jamerson heard his name called in the 2018 NFL Draft when the New Orleans Saints selected him in the fifth round with the No. 164 overall pick.

Jamerson confirmed to B5Q a few weeks prior to the draft that he worked out for the NFC South organization, and apparently the team liked what it saw.

The Saints should have, as the versatile Jamerson played both cornerback and safety for Wisconsin while showcasing his talents on special teams (especially as an exceptional punt gunner), including being the team’s primary kickoff returner during the 2015 season.

Be sure to check out Jamerson’s short but sweet phone call with the Saints’ digital media coordinator, Caroline Gonzalez.

Now Jamerson heads to New Orleans, where he will see former Wisconsin teammate and Saints 2017 first-round draft pick Ryan Ramczyk, while competing for a spot in a talented secondary on a team that was within one play away from advancing to the NFC Championship game last season.

Canal Street Chronicles’ Christopher Dunnells answered some of our questions to see what’s ahead for Jamerson down near Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

What were the Canal Street Chronicles crew’s thoughts on the selection of Jamerson?

Christopher: General consensus on draft day was that the Saints neglected to draft a clear long-term tight end, but Troy Fumagalli going a few spots earlier might have made the Saints switch gears. In the later rounds, you’re gambling on upside, and Jamerson presents just that: a player who doesn’t have a lot of tape on him at defensive back, but could very well have gone in the earlier rounds if he played consistently on defense his entire college career. Overall, Saints fans graded the pick between a B-C, so general consensus was positive.

Where does Jamerson fill a need on the Saints’ defense (and on special teams)? Has the coaching staff discussed how they plan to use him?

Jamerson has stated the Saints told him they view him as a cornerback and plan to use him as such. But with his 4.4 speed and experience returning kicks on special teams, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Jamerson immediately thrust into a prime role on special teams early in the 2018 season.

Who are the players that Jamerson will have to compete with in the defensive backfield?

In the secondary, it’s a crowded (and talented) lot with Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley taking CB1 and CB2 positions, respectively. The recently re-signed Patrick Robinson takes over a as a primary slot corner, and the Saints still have depth at the position with players like P.J. Williams and Sterling Moore in the wings. On kickoffs, Alvin Kamara saw time returning kicks late in the season, but I imagine Sean Payton views Kamara as too important to the starting offense to risk losing to injury on kickoffs early in the season. Ted Ginn, Jr., had also been used to return kicks early in the season, but he’s turning 48 years old this year. That’s one of the reasons I could see Jamerson used as a primary return specialist.

Way-too-early thoughts: Do you see Jamerson making the active roster, and what will he have to do to make that a reality?

As discussed above, Jamerson could make an immediate impact returning kickoffs for the Saints. If he also makes good plays in coverage units, I like his chances of making the opening-week roster. If Jamerson wants to eventually be a starting CB for the Saints, he first needs to just make the team. Then he can see time playing against Drew Brees and the rest of the offense as a member of the scout team. If he practices well, and if an injury pops up somewhere (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen), Jamerson could see time on the defensive side of the ball.

2018 NFL Draft Badgers tracker

Player Position Team Draft Selection/UDFA Draft Pick/Signing Story Scouting Report Interview
Player Position Team Draft Selection/UDFA Draft Pick/Signing Story Scouting Report Interview
Nick Nelson CB Oakland Raiders Round 4, Pick 10 (No. 110 overall) Read Here Read Here
Troy Fumagalli TE Denver Broncos Round 5, Pick 19 (No. 156 overall) Read Here Read Here
Natrell Jamerson S New Orleans Saints Round 5, Pick 27 (No. 164 overall) Read Here Read Here Read Here
Jack Cichy LB Tampa Bay Buccaneers Round 6, Pick 28 (No. 202 overall) Read Here Read Here Read Here
Leon Jacobs LB Jacksonville Jaguars Round 7, Pick 12 (No. 230 overall) Read Here Read Here
Garret Dooley LB Minnesota Vikings UDFA Read Here Read Here
Alec James DL Arizona Cardinals UDFA Read Here Read Here
Austin Ramesh FB Arizona Cardinals UDFA Read Here Read Here Read Here
Conor Sheehy DL Green Bay Packers UDFA Read Here Read Here
Derrick Tindal CB Read Here
Joe Ferguson S Green Bay Packers Tryout Read Here
Lubern Figaro CB Cleveland Browns Tryout Read Here Read Here