Versatile safety/linebacker hybrid Hamsah Nasirildeen will have a good chance to take the New York Jets’ WILL linebacker spot.
Hamsah Nasirildeen played only two games in his 2020 senior season, returning late in the season after an ACL injury he suffered the previous year, so we’ll focus on his 2019 junior season in which he played 11 games.
Nasirildeen primarily played safety in the Seminoles’ defense, but he spent quite a bit of time in other roles as well. Here is a breakdown of his snap distribution in 2019:
- Free safety: 42.3% of defensive snaps
- Strong safety: 21.2%
- Slot cornerback: 17.7%
- Inside linebacker: 12.8%
- Outside linebacker: 5.3%
- Outside cornerback: 0.7%
Florida State sent Nasirildeen after the quarterback at a very frequent rate for a safety. He blitzed 46 times in 2019, an average of 4.2 snaps per game and making up 6.6% of his defensive snaps. For reference, 4.2 pass-rush snaps per game would have ranked eighth-highest among NFL safeties in 2020.
Nasirildeen hails from an extremely zone-heavy defense, playing 78% of his career coverage snaps in zone versus 22% in man.
The Seminoles asked Nasirildeen to handle some occasional slot duties, as he lined up in the slot on 20.4% of his career coverage snaps.
Nasirildeen did not perform a complete workout at his pro day, but here is the data we have and the percentile rankings of those numbers among safeties since 2000:
- Height: 6′ 3¼” (97th percentile)
- Weight: 215 pounds (80th)
- Wingspan: 82¾” (98th)
- Arm length: 34¼” (98th)
- Hand size: 10″ (90th)
- Vertical jump: 32″ (11th)
- 3-cone drill: 7.05s (39th)
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.27s (33rd)
- Bench press: 17 reps (53rd)
This is a very similar profile to fellow rookie Jamien Sherwood. Both players are big enough to pass as linebackers but less athletic than ideal for the safety position, exemplifying their interchangeability between the two spots.
Nasirildeen’s 215-pound frame would have made him the lightest linebacker in the NFL last season, tied with Atlanta’s Foyesade Oluokun, a 2018 sixth-round pick who developed into a versatile starting WILL linebacker under linebackers coach and now-Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. Nasirildeen and Sherwood both project well to playing the role that Oluokun played in Atlanta during Ulbrich’s time there.
Nasirildeen had a successful season of coverage in 2019, allowing one touchdown, two interceptions, and a passer rating of 68.9 on throws in his direction. He earned a coverage grade of 81.6 at Pro Football Focus, ranking at the 90th percentile among qualified FBS safeties.
Most notably, in a road game against Trevor Lawrence and Clemson’s fourth-ranked scoring offense, Nasirildeen allowed no catches over 41 snaps in coverage. He was targeted twice, snagging an interception and forcing an incompletion on the only other ball thrown his way.
You can count on Hamsah to wrap up and finish. Nasirildeen finished his Florida State career with a 9.6-to-1 ratio of tackles to missed tackles, which is better than the 2020 NFL average for safeties (7.5-to-1). He made 13 tackles and missed only one over his limited amount of time in the 2020 season.