Nasirildeen was widely considered to be one of the best safeties in college football before a torn ACL wiped out most of his 2020 season. He did return late in the year, however, and still found himself projected as a near-consensus Day 2 pick.
But he experienced somewhat of a draft-day slide and fell right into the Jets' laps at pick No. 186. The Jets plan to move the physical Nasirildeen to linebacker where he will likely compete for playing time on both defense and special teams early on.
Recently, we sat down with USC expert Alicia de Artola to chat about new Jets guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. We did the same with Kelvin Hunt, a Florida State expert from our sister site, Chop Chat.
Hunt helped us break down Nasirildeen's game and give Jets fans a glimpse of what they could expect in the former Seminoles star.
Below is a transcription of our conversation.
What are the NY Jets getting in Hamsah Nasirildeen?
Justin: "At what point did you begin to realize that Nasirildeen was a special talent?"
Kelvin: "Hamsah Nasirildeen was the No. 109 ranked player in the 2017 recruiting class. A composite 4-star, so you knew he had the potential to be an impact player. He already possessed great size and length as a freshman. I think it was later in the season against Clemson when he racked up 10 tackles as a freshman that you began to see everything come together for him. He went on to lead the team with 91 tackles in only 12 games as a sophomore and the rest is history."
Justin: "What are some areas of improvement that Nasirildeen needs to work on?"
Kelvin: "I understand the Jets made the decision to move him from safety to linebacker, which is the smart play coming off the ACL injury. Nasirildeen’s game has always been better coming downhill and snuffing plays out more so than playing in coverage. He’s never been a burner speed-wise. I’m sure he’ll need more reps on keys from the linebacker position and understanding what gaps to fill in certain situations. He’ll probably need time to acclimate to the defensive scheme and how they want to use him. He’s definitely a Swiss Army type that can do a lot of things."
Justin: "Do you have any favorite memories of Nasirildeen at Florida State?"
Kelvin: "Hamsah made a lot of plays at FSU. However, his senior year was tough as he was working to get back on the field. He only had a chance to play in two games his final year due to rehab and COVID-19 forcing games to be canceled. However, his final game in the garnet and gold showed flashes of the Hamsah Nasirildeen the team had been missing. He finished that game with nine tackles, a pass breakup, and an interception return for 25 yards. It was great to see a player who you knew was dying to get back on the field for weeks, finally get a chance to play and look relatively healthy."
Justin: "The Jets plan to move Nasirildeen to linebacker in the NFL. How do you see him fitting into his new role?"
Kelvin: "I think it’s the perfect move. As I mentioned, his strong suit has never been playing coverage in the secondary. He’s not terrible there, but Nasirildeen will lay the wood on players and loves playing physical. He has good instincts pre-snap and is always around the football. I think he has the size to get off blocks and make plays. He should still be fast enough to cover most tight ends (he helped keep Florida’s Kyle Pitts in check in the 2019 game). I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an impact on special teams as well."
Justin: "Are there any other things that Jets fans should know about Nasirildeen?"
Kelvin: "Hamsah Nasirildeen is a talented player but an even better person. He was a player that was good in the locker room. A guy that always put in the extra work and tried to make his teammates better. He’s an absolute dawg and the Jets got a steal with him in the sixth round. If he can stay healthy (the ACL injury is the only injury that kept him off the field at FSU), he should be a player that will contribute for several years to come."
Special thanks again to Kelvin for taking the time to chat with us. Let's hope that Kelvin is right and that the Jets landed a steal with Hamsah Nasirildeen.