June 25, 2024

The Seattle Seahawks, known for their history of drafting players from Mississippi State, might be eyeing another prospect from the same college. Nathaniel Watson, the AP’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2023, is scheduled to have a top 30 visit with the Seahawks. Watson, a linebacker from Mississippi State, has already met with the Cleveland Browns and is also planning visits with the Patriots, Cowboys, and other teams in the near future.

POSITIVES

— Demonstrates remarkable productivity, displaying consistent tackling ability with minimal misses, particularly when operating in close quarters.

— Exhibits a physical presence as a run defender, unafraid to engage physically and capable of delivering impactful hits.

Nathaniel Watson Selected As C Spire Conerly Trophy Nominee - Mississippi  State

— Shows adequate instincts when defending against zone runs, occasionally displaying quick reactions to read and anticipate plays, allowing him to outmaneuver offensive linemen.

— Possesses upper-body strength, enabling him to create separation from blockers by extending his arms.

NEGATIVES

— Displays below-average movement skills overall, impacting his coverage abilities and effectiveness against elusive ball-carriers in open space.

— Limited agility and speed restrict his range when defending against outside runs.

— Engages blockers with a high pad level, making it easier for offensive linemen to control him and gain leverage in the running game.

— Lacks aggressiveness when disengaging from blocks, often struggling to free himself even when matched up against tight ends.

Summary:
Nathaniel Watson has showcased remarkable productivity as a linebacker, tallying 250 total tackles over the past two seasons combined. He embraces a traditional approach to run defense, demonstrating physicality and a willingness to deliver hard hits when attacking downhill.

However, concerns arise regarding Watson’s transition to the NFL due to his deficiencies in key linebacker traits. His subpar movement skills hinder his coverage abilities and limit his effectiveness against zone runs. Additionally, his struggles with block shedding and pad level raise questions about his ability to excel at the professional level.

Watson’s success in the NFL may hinge on his performance in training camp and his ability to contribute on special teams as a rookie.

It’s worth noting that Watson has faced off-field issues, including a drag racing incident in 2018 and a DUI arrest last year.

In terms of his physical attributes, Watson measured 6’2″ and 233 pounds at the NFL combine, posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.62 seconds. While his athletic testing wasn’t exceptional, it’s not necessarily determinative of his NFL potential.

The Seahawks have shown interest in Mississippi State players in recent drafts, selecting Cameron Young in the fourth round of the 2023 draft and Charles Cross in the first round of the 2022 draft. Notably, the last Mississippi State linebacker drafted by the Seahawks was K.J. Wright in 2011.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Arkansas at Mississippi State

 

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