Picasso Nelson Jr.
From Darrell Reese:
When you think of the prototypical hybrid defensive back, Picasso Nelson Jr. fits the bill. Nelson is a player that that can play box safety, line up at linebacker and cover the best team’s receiver in the process. Nelson measures 5 feet 10 inches and 195 pounds, so the size is there as well to play those positions.
During his time at Southern Miss, Nelson has arguably been one of the best defensive players on the field when healthy.
The defensive back racked up a total of 201 total tackles and five interceptions in his time as a Golden Eagle while also earning a Preseason All-Conference USA selection. The resume is there and so is his will to compete on and off the field.
The Oak Grove native graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and finance back in 2017 and has been pursuing a master’s degree in business administration as well. His skills off the field have prepared him for his play on the field. Football is a game of intelligence, and he has shown that he is sharpened and prepared in every level of the game.
With all his preparation on and off the field, Nelson has stated that he has been training with his dad to get ready for pro day, a chance for players to showcase their talents in their environment in front of NFL scouts. Southern Miss’ Pro Day was held on March 25 at M.M. Roberts Stadium, and scouts from the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars were in attendance.
During his 40-yard dash performance, Nelson ran unofficial times of 4.41 and 4.42. During interviews, Nelson stated that he ran a 4.39 during training, so the speed is there and that is what most teams are looking for: a guy of his skills and caliber to play multiple positions on the field and adjust to their style of play.
“I didn’t run that [Monday], so I’m really still kind of mad about that,” Nelson said. “I thought I was going to do better at a lot of things, but that’s kind of my personality. But, I did okay today.”
Nelson focused on the “why” when reflecting on his Pro Day experience.
“For me, I think that’s the most peaceful moment,” Nelson said. “I try to think about my ‘why,’ like, ‘why am I here? What drives me to do what I’m doing?’ That’s the peaceful part.”
NFL scouts usually want to be up close and personal when they are interested in drafting a player. Of course, the film shows a player’s play on the field, but it is the brains of the player that keeps them upright off the field.
Nelson was asked how the meetings went and how he felt about the process during his interviews.
“It felt good talking to scouts for NFL teams,” Nelson said. “Obviously, that’s been a dream of mine for a long time, so Lord willing, things just keep getting better.”
Overall, Nelson has the skills to compete with anyone on the field. If he gets drafted and or signs as an undrafted free agent, Nelson has the ability to play in the NFL for a long time. Nelson has the size to play multiple positions on the field and the IQ to understand what is going on in between plays.
So, what’s next for Picasso Nelson Jr.? A chance at the pros and to live his dream of playing the NFL.
From Andrew Abadie:
Now former Southern Miss placekicker Parker Shaunfield is looking for his opportunity to take his career to the professional level.
Shaunfield had said that he had hoped to gain more attention on Pro Day, but felt that his day was average.
“It was alright,” Shaunfield said. “A little windy out there. It was kind of hard just playing the game out there and get back being used to everything in the stadium. I wanted to really hit my kickoffs well and hit a couple of pretty good. The best one was about eight deep, I think a decent hang time. Overall, a fairly average day.”
Since the end of the 2018 season, Shaunfield had trained in Buffalo, New York to work with kicking coach Adam Tanalski for a month. After that, Shaunfield traveled to Arizona to compete in a kicking combine. Since February, Shaunfield has been home in Dallas-Fort Worth where he has continued to train.
The only team that Shaunfield has been in contact with is the Chicago Bears.
“Their special teams coordinator came out to Aledo [High School], my school, and I had a private workout with them two weeks ago,” Shaunfield said.
Shaunfield went into detail with the workout and explained that it was a simple workout.
“If they are coming to look at you they’ve seen the game film,” he said. “They are not going to spend money to come and see if they are not interested Basically nine [or] ten field goals starting at extra points and work your way back to 64 [yards]. Then two kickoffs down the middle and two in each direction that’s all it was. Just enough for him to see me in person.”
Shaunfield had said that if he was to hear anything back from the Bears it would be after the NFL draft.
“I think they are not planning on drafting [someone] as far as I know,” Shaunfield said. “They already have got two guys signed. [The Bears special teams scout] looking at the other college guys they are interested in as well, as far as I’m concerned. He was going around the country to look at three or four other guys. It’s really just a tossup right now”
The Bears are looking for a kicker after releasing their former kicker Cody Parkey, who missed a potential game-winning field goal in the NFL Wild Card round against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In the last two seasons of Shaufield’s career, the kicker was named to the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List twice. The Lou Groza Award is college football’s award for the nation’s best kicker. He was also named First Team All-Conference USA in 2017.
In his final two years at Southern Miss, Shaunfield was also 33-for-40 in field goals, 66-for-69 in extra points and kicked a career long of 51-yards.
Printz Editor Andrew Abadie also contributed to this report.