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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Picasso Nelson Jr., DB, University of Southern Mississippi

Southern Mississippi defensive back Picasso Nelson Jr. can play the game. He recently took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Draft Diamond’s very own Jonathan Joyce.

Player Profile:

  • Picasso Nelson Jr.
  • University of Southern Mississippi
  • DB
  • 5’10”
  • 195lbs.
  • Hometown: Mendenhall, Mississippi
  • Twitter: @cassojr_

2018 Accolades & Statistics:

  • 2018 C-USA Football All-Conference Honorable Mention.
  • GP: 11
  • Total Tackles: 59
  • TFL: 4.5
  • INT: 1
via Southern Miss Sports

What is your favorite song to listen to prior to competing?

Loaded Bases by Nipsey Hussle.

How would your teammates describe you as both a player and person?

Leader, encourager, hard-worker.

How do you and your teammates make practice and film study fun?

We have this dance or shuffle that I started called the “casso bop.” We do it on game day and in practice, it brings energy to everyone on defense. In the film room, its mostly all business but we do have funny conversations with the coaches when we get breaks.

When you are studying film, what is your main focus to gain a competitive advantage?

My main focus is to first watch a few games just to see the offensive coordinators tendencies. Then I imagine myself being on the film, doing my job. I watch my keys and dissect the players that I will be covering. I watch body language, stance, effort, favorite press releases, and so forth.

While at the Collegiate level, who has been the toughest player you have competed against?

Amari Cooper.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

Life. A lot of times we as people get so caught up in what isn’t going right but I assure you it’s a blessing to be here. Every day above ground is a great day. Every day we wake up it is another chance to get better, and for a competitor that’s a dream come true. Because sooner or later the opportunity will meet preparation.

What team do you choose in Madden? Why?

I usually play with NFL teams that my former college teammates play with now. I’m versatile. I have a reputation of beating people by 21 points before halftime.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

To be the wises person on earth. The yields from the wisdom of that caliber would be priceless.

What do you value most from your Collegiate experience?

I was born relentless. Southern Miss tested my will, and I passed all the tests. My college experience taught but that nothing in life comes easy and that you have fight for whatever you want. You have to fight through whatever pain. No matter what, show up every day and put it all on the line. It’s HEART over everything.

Who is your personal hero?

If I had to choose, I would have to say, my dad. I admire him greatly for all the adversities he has overcome throughout his life. A self-made man with a work ethic that only the greats have. He passed that trait to me. I’m forever grateful for the man he is and who he is in my life.

Tell me something about yourself nobody would know.

I’m both an extrovert and an introvert. When in public I speak to everyone, smile at everyone, and laugh with everyone. However, when at home I enjoy being by myself. Solitude is peaceful.

How do you work on yourself?

Every day I strive to get a little bit better spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Currently, I am reading a book called “From Good to Great to Unstoppable,” by Tim Grover. I aspire to be the best. This book is about the mindsets of the best of the best.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Jay Z. This would be because he excelled to a position in life that some only dream about. Furthermore, the way he helps those in needs is worth respect. At dinner, with him, we would converse and then I’d ask for advice on how to reach the level that he is at. That would an amazing opportunity.

If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?

I would like the power of seeing people for who they truly are. As in who they are at their core. Life is all about who you surround yourself with and I strive to only surround myself with good hearted people who are striving every day to better themselves. This superpower would be beneficial in countless ways.

What would constitute a perfect day for you?

Being surrounded around family. Playing spades and laughing with my loved ones. Eating my grandparent’s homemade biscuits, homemade syrup, and fish.

Who inspired you as a young athlete?

My first inspiration was my dad, Picasso Nelson Sr. (He was an All-American safety, invited to the senior bowl, played professional football, etc.) My second inspiration was my cousin Matt Willis. As a kid, I use to go watch him play often. He was a beast and every fashion. His work ethic was impeccable and he had an indomitable will to win. He played running back and every time he got the ball the crowd would watch in awe. To say the least, he was a playmaker and very exciting to watch.

What are the positive attributes that you bring to a professional football team?

First and foremost, effort an indomitable will to win. I crave the end result, winning, so great that the work is irrelevant. Next will be my knowledge of the game. Also, it is said that I am pretty smart (I graduated undergrad summa cum laude in finance & graduated with a Masters in Business. I’m 22 years old.) This translates to the field because I also have a high football IQ. I know the jobs of all my teammates surrounding me and I am vocal on the field. I am a student of the game. I recognize what I’ve seen on film. I find my opponents weaknesses and I attack their shortcomings.

Tell me about a time where you overcame a challenge.

A: I missed the 2017 football season due to injury. This was a hard time in life. Not only was it difficult for me physically but it was maybe tougher on me mentally. Within this time, I saw the “true colors” of so many people that surrounded. I was able to finally see those who loved me for who I was and those who only loved me for what I do. To say the least, fake love is real. However, I’m grateful for all the ups and downs of life. We as a people never grow while in our comfort zones. 2017 taught me to appreciate health, to appreciate the grind, and to appreciate life.

What one skill would you like to improve on? What’s your plan for doing so?

For starters, let me say that my family is extremely competitive. Currently, we’ve been playing a lot of ping pong. As of now, I can definitely say that I am the second best in the family. My uncle Tim holds the number one spot. However, me being who I am, I want to be the undisputed champ of the family. So I have to practice more and just simply get better.

If you could intercept any NFL QB, past or present, who would it be and why?

Without a doubt, Brett Favre. He coached me at Oak Grove High School. He is a great guy and one of the greatest to ever pick of a football. He is a competitor with a work ethic that is unmatched. Brett loved the game and loved his craft. So to be able to intercept a pass of his would be an honor.

What current/former NFL player do you model your playing style after?

Tyrann Mathieu.

What is the best part of your hometown; Mendenhall, Mississippi?

The best part about going home is to see my family! I go home and spend time with my mom, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. I have a loving family and we have fun together. They’re cool, so it’s always a blessing to see them.

In 15 words or less, give me your pitch to an NFL GM on why you should be a part of their organization.

Read “From Good to Great to Unstoppable,” by Tim S. Grover. I’m a Cleaner.

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