The Green Bay Packers need to add talent to their defense in the 2021 NFL Draft. They might look at some players from the famous, or maybe infamous, Florida St, to add some of that talent.
Although the Green Bay Pay Packers are rolling, they still need help – at many positions. Most of their needs are on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle, cornerback, and linebacker are some of their biggest needs. We can look to one prestigious, albeit flailing, ACC team to satisfy those needs.
The Florida State Seminoles have plenty of defensive talent. The Seminoles’ top dog, Marvin Wilson, will not be available for the Green Bay Packers, however, there are plenty of Seminole defenders that might be there for the Packers.
Hamsah Nasirildeen, Cory Durden, and Asante Samuel Jr are all possible first-round targets for the Green Bay Packers.
Hamsah Nasirildeen – Senior, Linebacker/Safety
Hamsah Nasirildeen has missed the first couple games of the 2020 season but it’s his first real injury, to date. Nasirildeen is a 6’ 4”, 220-pound linebacker/safety hybrid. He’s thin for a linebacker but he has elite movement ability for the position.
Nasirildeen has an obvious role in the NFL as a nickel linebacker, which is a starting position these days. Nasirildeen will be a coverage matchup specialist in the NFL, where his length and movement skills will allow him to shut down almost any player in the box.
He hasn’t done much as a pass-rusher, which is a negative for him if his best position is at linebacker. He’ll have to start from the bottom there, though he has the feet and the bend to pursue the quarterback. What he lacks right now is practical strength.
He can’t collapse a pocket or penetrate in the run-game. He typically loses with any contact against offensive linemen or even tight ends. While Nasirildeen has shown a good burst, he hasn’t shown a desire to make plays around the line of scrimmage and I’m concerned about his ability in the box.
Nasirildeen will have limitations in the NFL but what he does well is at a premium these days. He plays so well in space that the team that drafts him will try to scheme him into that position. Any smart coordinator will ensure that he’s covering tight ends and running backs and limiting his time against the run.
While the Green Bay Packers need help against the run, they still lack a player who can shutdown backs and tight ends. Hamsah Nasirildeen can do that and if he can come back into the fold this year, he might prove some run-stop ability. Even if he doesn’t, Nasirildeen still might be a first-rounder, possibly within the range of the Green Bay Packers.
Cory Durden – Junior (RS), Interior Defensive Lineman
Cory Durden is 6’ 5”, 310-pounds and has an NFL frame, though his body still has some maturing to do – his loose-fit jersey isn’t helping. He shows good movement skills for his size but his practical strength is in question. So is his effort.
His athleticism is not in question. He’s got great feet and his hands work in unison. When Durden is on, he’s on. His length is a huge benefit to his game. When Durden times the snap, he can bring all of his positive traits together to form one of the best interior bull-rushes in the game.
Durden’s lack of strength is obvious when linemen get inside of him. He hasn’t shown the ability to escape strong-handed blockers. When Durden loses, he loses bad. Typically, there’s no counter-move for Durden, but he can always stick his bear paws into the passing lane.
Durden struggles more in the run-game. His anchor is lacking and there’s plenty of reps where he’s washed out of the hole. His hands don’t translate to his tackling ability – his struggles there have been noted. He may be a liability against the run in the NFL but he can always penetrate into the backfield.
Given Durden’s abilities and inabilities, he will begin his NFL career as an interior pass-rush specialist. With time, he could mold himself into a better run defender but he needs work in the weight room.
Right now, Durden is a fringe day-two selection. He may not fit the needs of the Green Bay Packers, as they clearly need a run-stopper next to Kenny Clark, but his talent can’t be denied. If Durden improves as a run-stopper, there’s nothing stopping him. He should be on the Packers’ short-list for the interior defensive line.
Asante Samuel Jr – Junior, Cornerback
Asante Samuel Jr may always be haunted by the memory of his father but he hasn’t seemed to care yet. At 5’ 10”, 184-pounds, he’s basically the same size as his old-man and he has the same burst that highlighted his father’s career.
Samuel shows similar instincts as well, though he might not show it as consistently. He doesn’t make plays as often but it isn’t fair to compare a college junior to a four-time Pro-Bowler. Samuel shines best in man-coverage, though he can make plays in zone as well.
Samuel can come off his coverage and attack the ball like a pro. He may struggle to win those matchups in the air against NFL wide receivers. His lack of length has been glaring in contested situations. Samuel’s feet are second to almost none but his hand technique still need some work.
Samuel has shown a willingness to make plays against the run. He’ll always put his nose in there but his size will limit him. He does a great job fighting stalk-blocks and consistently wraps-up during tackle opportunities.
Samuel needs some work with his hands but he should be capable in both man and zone coverage right away. Against NFL competition, Samuel’s size may be exposed but critics said the same thing about Jaire Alexander and we know how that ended up. Actually, with Samuel’s burst and feet, he’ll remind us of Jaire.
With Kevin King potentially moving on during the 2021 offseason, the Green Bay Packers may be better off with a player who more closely resembles Jaire Alexander’s style of play. Asante Samuel Jr offers that, along with potential first-round talent. The Packers should pay attention to him during the 2020 season.
There’s three defensive players for Florida St that the Green Bay Packers should pay attention to. Hamsah Nasirildeen has the coverage and matchup ability that NFL defenses will covet, while Cory Durden might be the best interior pass-rusher in this class, and Asante Samuel Jr has elite outside corner potential.
The Green Bay Packers clearly need help in those roles and will be keeping a close eye on the Florida St defense. We’ll be doing the same, here at Game On Wisconsin.