Better Know a Draft Prospect: Arizona S Nate Ness
Nate Ness is a FS out of Arizona who started both his Junior and Senior seasons after transferring to the University from Junior College. He played with current NFL DB Antoine Cason and notched 5 interceptions his Junior year. There was some hope that Nate might catapult himself into being a first-day selection with a similar senior season, but he wasn't able to reproduce his fantastic interception total from 2007. As a result, Nate is now a projected 6th-7th round selection who could even slip into UDFA. He has only two years of Division I experience, so he still has much to learn about the some of the nuances of the game. However, he has the potential to be a late round steal after a few years of development. In Junior College he notched 19 interceptions, 10 of which he returned for touchdowns during his 2 year stint.
Nate has vastly improved both his overall strength and his tackling form and ability through his tenure at Arizona. His focus on that aspect of his game has paid dividends in that, although he only made 2 picks his senior season, he more than doubled his number of tackles, going from 32 as a Jr to 75 as a Sr. He is more of a sure tackler than your typical Free Safety (cough, cough Reggie Nelson, cough), and could make the switch to SS easier than most. This versatility could add serious value to Nate's draft stock.
He is known for his instinctive coverage skills in the secondary, but he has some fundamental flaws in his game that must be addressed. He plays too upright and has some trouble with moving his hips fluidly, but that can be addressed.
Nate is the sole defensive captain of the Arizona Wildcats, despite the team having 3 offensive captains. He is known as a vocal and motivated force in the locker-room who has earned the respect of his team-mates. He's also known as a jokester who can always lighten the mood. He often pulls pranks but according to his team-mate Eben Britton, he doesn't cross the line.
Offensive tackle Eben Britton, another co-captain, called Ness "a vocal leader that really gets guys going."
Ness can be funny, Britton said, but he’s never mean. "Not in an obnoxious, annoying way," Britton said. "He can probably get away with a little more than most guys."
Nate backs up his on-the-field leadership up by volunteering in the community.
The football players, Nate Ness, Kris Heavner, Donald Horton and A.J. Simmons, are spending this Saturday afternoon bowling and sharing pizza with 34 students from Mission View and Pueblo Gardens elementary schools, both of which serve low-income students.
Video Killed the Scouting Report: Look for Nate's Endzone INT early in the Vid and his one handed pick late in the Vid... what a catch!
The Expert's Opinions - Not much is out on Nate Ness yet, but here's what I've found:
Consensus Draft Services - Has the strength to play up in the box and is a sure tackler. Good ball skills with 7 INT in 2 years starting.
Footballs Future: Nate Ness is quick (4.50 - 40). Nate Ness has good size (at 6-1). Nate Ness loves making plays on the deep ball. Nate Ness is the most physical FS in the '09 Draft. You heard it here first.
Consensus Draft Services: Stiff in coverage and is not smooth in his change of direction. Late coming over the top at times.
Footballs Future: The only downside: Nate Ness sometimes would rather let his WR catch the ball so he can hit him (legally) than play the ball. All Nate Ness needs is some good coaching because Nate Ness has all the natural tangibles of being a great shutdown NFL FS.
NATE NESS: By The Numbers -
Nate is 6'1" 190 lbs and is a devastating hitter for a FS. He is a self-professed "ball-hawk" who has solid hands. His numbers though his collegiate career showcase his ability to make the INT when given the opportunity. His ferocious tackling has enabled the defense to use him closer to the line of scrimmage to aid in run defense and blitzing.
19 Interceptions in JUCO, 10 returned for TDs
44 Solo Tackles his Sr season
31 Assisted Tackles his Sr season
5 Interceptions his Jr season
2 Interceptions his Sr season
8 QB hurries his Sr season
Why should he be on the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Nate is an ideal late round selection. He's got the versatility to play more than one position, SS or FS, and he's got the character and leadership ability the Jaguar's are targeting in their players. He fits an area of desperate need with the pending departure of Gerald Sensabaugh, and his flaws are all technical in nature and can be resolved with coaching. He's got the speed (4.5 40 yard) to play safety, and his size and tackling ability leave nothing to be desired. He is the prototypical "Jar on the Shelf" and could be a starter with a few years of solid teaching.
NATE NESS Interview with Big Cat Country coming Next Week!!!