Round 1, 23rd Overall: Hamsah Nasirildeen (S), Florida State
Finally, McDermott gets his “Buffalo Nickel” in the uber athletic hybrid safety Hamsah Nasirildeen from Florida State. At 6’4″ and around 215 pounds Nasirildeen has the ideal frame for the position.
The big, long safety had a great junior season for Florida State in 2019, racking up 101 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 sack and 3 forced fumbles. He fits the prototype for the big nickel, a long rangy frame with great athleticism which allows him to play all over the field. Joe Marino from The Draft Network describes how Nasirildeen can play in the box and slot (requirements of a big nickel).
"Can play as a deep safety, in the slot and down in the box. Takes correctly calculated angles in pursuit. Physical tackler that arrives with intent. Looks to separate the football from the ball carrier. Urgent in pursuit and is always around the football. Does well to weave and navigate through traffic in pursuit. Has impressive reps in the slot showcasing his ability to plant and drive."
The utility defender likely won’t be asked to play deep safety as Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer will still be occupying the starting safety positions for at least 2021. He is a far greater talent than Siran Neal and Dean Marlowe for the big nickel spot. Also, the former Florida State product has too many redeeming qualities down low in the box and at the slot position to be used as a coverage safety. Resulting in Nasiirildeen patrolling the big nickel position he was originally drafted for.
With Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes running the AFC, Buffalo needs hybrid players that can cover sideline to sideline to give those dynamic offenses headaches. Florida State would routinely blitz Nasirildeen from the safety position and likes to keep him closer to the line of scrimmage to enhance his playmaking.
Below, the safety for Florida State shows great pursuit when flies down into the box to secure a great tackle on second down:
Here Nasirildeen shows off his ability to lay the lumber on ball carriers, despite his long frame the hybrid safety is built well and shows a lot of play strength which is ideal for a big nickel who can occasionally play in the box:
This is the ideal pick for the Buffalo Bills, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to me if the teams management is already keeping a close eye on Nasirildeen.