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Seahawks Draft Picks 2017: The upside and downside of Nazair Jones

Pittsburgh v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks went back to where they started day two for their fifth selection of the day, taking University of North Carolina defensive lineman Nazair Jones. Jones is a great story, unable to walk after his junior year of high school due to an illness, Jones battled back and ended up close to home at UNC. After redshirting his first year there, Jones put up three disruptive seasons - two as a starter - before coming out of school early.

The Upside

You can never have too many numbers along the defensive line. The Seahawks bringing in a veteran defensive tackle that plays far more than expected has become a yearly tradition, and I don’t think it’s ever intended to be. In Jones, Seattle has another rotational player capable of filling in on both passing and rushing downs.

First, Jones displays the kind of strength you want to see from a defensive tackle in the run game, holding his blocker at the point of attack before coming off and making the tackle:

He also possesses the short-area burst necessary to get into the backfield and wreak havoc, resulting in tackles for loss like this:

Right away at North Carolina, Jones showed the kind of player he was capable of being: despite not starting a single game in 2014, he posted 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Those numbers only rose as his playing time increased, and there’s no reason that he can’t have a similar role while playing 10-15 snaps a game for the Seahawks in his rookie season.

The Downside

Although I do believe it isn’t in the plan for Seattle to bring in a veteran defensive tackle this fall, the selection of Naz Jones almost takes them out of the market for one. With Malik McDowell, Jones and Quinton Jefferson joining Jarran Reed and Ahtyba Rubin inside, the team is going to need one or two of McDowell, Jones and Jefferson to have an impact this season, or else they’ll seemingly be a number short at that position all season long.

Jones joins McDowell and Jefferson as intriguing prospects on the inside in Seattle, but 2017 will be a sink or swim year right out of the gates for Jefferson and Jones.